The Objects Don't Need Us is the second album from young electronic artist Phon°noir (aka Matthias Grübel). Largely continuing down the path of his first release, this eleven-song, forty-five minute release is another off-kilter and fractured album of electronic pop music that at times sounds like it was pulled together using sounds entirely sampled from the back room of an instrument repair shop.
I don't mean the above in a bad way, as Grübel obviously has an ear for unique beat samples and production. "The Figurines Are Moving" combines old-school drum machine sounds with clattering bells, chimes, whirs, and crackles as distorted guitar lines and downcast vocals are the loose skin on the sharp skeletal frame. In another universe, "Climbing Up That Hill" might work out as an almost sing-along track, but here it's all clipped and gated beats and guitar, with dramatic silences and mechanical noises that keep warmth at an arms length despite whispered vocals.
The album is actually at its best when it pushes even closer towards pop-oriented songwriting and structures. "My Paperhouse On Fire" is a gorgeous little clip-hop track that mingles warm keys and pitter-patter beats with some nice male/female vocals from Grübel and Marie-Sophie Kanske, while "We Still Miss The Future" also lumps along nicely with vintage sci-fi synths, thick beats, and quiet wheezy organs while again featuring female guest vocals from Anna-Lynne Williams. These great tracks coupled with several that feel more like a step sideways make The Objects Don't Need Us a good, but not quite great follow-up from Phon°noir.