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TRIO (Buy CDs by this artist)
Live im Frühjahr 82 [tape] (Ger. Mercury) 1982
Trio (Mobile Suit Corporation) 1982
Trio EP (Mercury) 1982
Bye Bye (Ger. Mercury) 1983
Trio and Error (Mercury) 1983

Originally issued in Germany in 1981, Trio's Klaus Voorman-produced debut album was updated to include their European million-seller, "Da Da Da ich lieb dich nicht du liebst mich nicht aha aha aha." (With the lyrics redone in English, the song was popular in dance clubs outside Germany as well.) Compared to the rest of the album, though, the minimalist hit sounds nearly symphonic; Trio is basically guitar and drums behind monotonal (but bilingual) vocals. Lyrics are obsessed with lousy relationships and steeped in black humor — sometimes just blackness without the humor. But the band's brutally primitive sound announces itself first.

The cassette-only Live im Frühjahr 82 essentially reprises the album, emphasizing guitar for a hot sound, and includes between-song raps auf deutsch. The 12-inch Trio EP consists of five tracks from the album of the same name (including six-plus minutes of the English-language "Da Da Da") plus a later single, "Anna."

After that tentative step, Trio's American label took the plunge with Trio and Error, which also includes "Da Da Da"; the new material — almost all in English — is a little more musical and only a little less downbeat. But the načveté is charming.

With Bye Bye, Trio departed roughly the same as they entered: simple, witty and sarcastic in two languages. A '50s revivalist spirit informs the crazed guitar work of "Ich lieb den Rock'n'Roll" and a constipated "Tutti Frutti"; for those with longer memories, Trio thoughtfully includes an (almost) reverent version of "Tooralooralooraloo." Full-scale production on "Out in the Streets" renders it the most routine-sounding track Trio ever recorded; others (e.g., the catchy "Immer Noch Einmal") are as deliciously spartan as ever.

[Scott Isler/Ira Robbins]