Head here to submit your own review of this album.

Over the past few decades, since the '70s/'80s, Germany has nurtured a budding electronic streak. Pioneering genres such as dance and electronica, the nation altered the course of music history, and bands such as Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream helped indelibly shape the noises we hear today. It's something to allay the stereotype of beer-guzzlers and wurst-gobblers; instead, the nation of Germany has a vital position in the roots of electropop, trance and avante-garde techno. Although we've had some mighty electropop from synthmeisters Claire this year, it's the latter that the focus is on this July.

Experimental Berlin trio To Rococo Rot, who are famous for fusing post-rock and acoustic tints into their sonic jiggery-pokery, release their first new record in four years. Entitled Instrument, it sees them chuck vocals into the bonfire - their sounds have been instrumental thus far, and with the assistance of the legendary No Wave sculptor Arto Lindsay, the three-piece (comprising fraternal pair Ronald and Robert Lippok, a well as Stefan Schneider) go boldly forth into exciting, untrodden realms.

It's not all speckled with vox - they're not that gung-ho. On 'Classify', To Rococo Rot summon more of their organic prowess than electronic. There's an I Like Trains-esque chug, an early Mogwai minimalism, that pervades the track. Lindsay's vocals bob along over the top. It's a pretty unassuming foray into new territory, eliciting no strong feelings either way – it's just kinda there. 'Longest Escalator In The World' is more galvanising, wielding echoes and scratches of industrial guitar, and doom-y techno synths; there's an Aphex Twin brewing until Lindsay's words creep into frame. It's enormously dark, and a squall of electronic furore imbues the contrasting vocal clarity with a sense of peace, almost acceptance, in the face of certain abyss.

For their more standard fare, To Rococo Rot impressed early on with 'Pro Model'. Vague dissonance and spider-leg pizzicato permeates the locomotive beat - any band on Kompakt would be very pleased with this offering. It's wonderfully pacey, throbbing and pulsing with confidence towards some unknown goal. 'Baritone' offers a gorgeous, deep bassline and taut rhythms, before developing into one of the more melodic gambits on the record (don't expect hooks galore, but there's a lyrical quality to the bass guitar); 'Gitter' is another delightfully mellifluous cut, utilising six-stringer licks with a faintly Latin tone. There's a serenity that the track brings as it conveys isolation and space. It's a weird combo of lonely and comforting, which in turn breeds an introspection - if you've got a big decision to make by yourself, this is the sort of noise that could soundtrack you looking all pensive and broody in a montage.

It's been a hefty while since we last heard from To Rococo Rot, and there's an argument to be made that they weren't quite ready. Perhaps some more studio time would've knocked off the rust that'd accumulated; it's not that any of Instrument is bad, it's just... emotionless. Flaccid. Where some of the cuts, like 'Gitter', 'Pro Model', or 'Many Descriptions' evoke vibrant feelings, others ignite a giant pile of 'meh' inside your brain. 'Besides' squelches a bit, 'Classify' dawdles on the road to nowhere and 'Sunrise' is 90 seconds of beigeness. When the band inject pace, or meld melodic with clinical, sparse rhythmic motifs, there's huge cheers all round, and perhaps embracing their electronic roots slightly more may have been of benefit. However, when they do hit the nail on the head, it makes wading through the rest (which isn't much, really) all worth it.

This is the place you'll find reviews from 405 Readers. To join in, head here.