The tribulation is gone and it won’t come back either. After his 2018 album “Zores”, there was a silver lining that the musician would once again transform into the post-punk German sensation the music press wanted him to make in 2016 with his debut “Harieschaim”. But Max Gruber, whose real name is, even wants …

The tribulation is gone and it won’t come back either. After his 2018 album “Zores”, there was a silver lining that the musician would once again transform into the post-punk German sensation the music press wanted him to make in 2016 with his debut “Harieschaim”. But Max Gruber, like his real name, doesn’t want to: instead of the way home, he found his own escape route and escape route with “Exit Strategy” – and burns everything behind him, laughing and chewing confetti.

Drangsals home, his comfort zone, now exists outside all boundaries of taste and genre – as if he were roaming the New Wave, the Hamburg school, synth pop and song at high speed and two for thousand. It’s admirable on the one hand, and odd on the other – the ratio depends a lot on who you ask. Yes, “Exit Strategy” is trash. Even the 28-year-old can’t and won’t deny it himself. A shiver of shame can run down your back when, for example, the title song is full of stage choirs, when he sings his “Schnuckel” and “sugar doll”, when glittering Eurodance synths pop in: “Kirmes” is what he says himself. One can rightly find this bad – or in this gravity and recklessness finding out exactly what is lacking in life.

However, you shouldn’t be fooled by all the glitz, kitsch, and noise, as tribulation actually gets you really close. It tells of how “the boy became a beast”, as he is called in the opening “Escape Fantasy” – a reference to the album cover on which the musician sees himself as the devil in the mirror: “Exit Strategy “is a completed album Identity and Love (of Self), an album about not recognizing or loving what you see of yourself in the mirror. It is about gradually becoming and looking for your own place in the world, also in the somewhat awkward but no less important gender discourse “Girls are the prettiest boys”. It’s easy to ignore these introspective thoughts, as Tribulation combines statements such as “I wish I had never been born” with lines such as “There’s a flutter in my ears” and actively emphasizes the chants “Oh- Oh”. He celebrates the romanticism of the layman, builds towers out of pompous metaphors, and then breaks them down himself again with phrases like “binge drinking”.

Almost conciliatory, the Berliner by choice seems to reach out in the last track, “Karussell”: finally calm, while the Pedal Steel sighs with nostalgia. In the end, of course, the hype synths win – the bumper cars cross the screen one last time, the octopus does its final laps, a few youngsters play “Hau den Lukas”. This attachment will not make everyone happy. But never mind: “I am as I am, take me as I am, otherwise you will never have me.”