Friday, October 21, 2005

KMFDM's 'Hau Ruck'

When you’ve reached the industrial peaks that veterans KMFDM have climbed, finding relative success in the mid-1990s with back-to-back Angst and Nihil, the best you can hope for after a breakup and a few so-so albums is to maintain some sort of plateau.

Or at least coast along, in stride, and use a formula that has worked so well.

That is what KMFDM (MySpace profile and song samples here) have accomplished with their latest album, Hau Ruck (“Heave Ho!” in German). Sloganeering, shredding guitars, and danceable backbeats – with a live drum sound that has added an organic dynamic to the sound – have delivered on the promise of Xtort and Naïve for two decades now, and they manage to sound fresh on the new offering.

For one thing, this is the tightest, most focused-sounding album KMFDM has produced in years. The core group of Sascha Konietzko (vocals, samples), Lucia Cifarelli (vocals), Jules Hodgson and Steve White (guitars), and Andy Selway (drums/percurssion) have made three albums and have toured extensively together. They know their stuff, they know each other, and they have settled into a noticeable groove. No more of the revolving-door, guest-appearances-galore policy KMFDM adhered to throughout the ‘90s. The only downfall is the lack of Pig leader Raymond Watts, who added a sleazy, hyper-sexual sound to the group.

Konietzko returns to his German vocals on the machine-gun stomper “Hau Ruck,” rambunctious “Mini Mini Mini,” and closing with “Auf Wiederseh’n,” while Konietzko and Cifarelli tag-team on the slick and seductive “Ready to Blow” and “Professional Killer.”

While there were claims that Hau Ruck (a departure from the typically five-lettered album titles) was going to be more tongue-in-cheek, KMFDM haven’t let up on the liberal politics found in “Free Your Hate” and “New American Century.” The group still manages to have fun, however, never letting its passion outstrip its characteristic playfulness. While other industrial outfits suffer from a morbid self-righteousness, KMFDM never take themselves too seriously – as on “Feed Our Fame.”

Hau Ruck is no heave-ho to the typical KMFDM sound, but it does offer a polished, unified assault. That may be a disappointment to some – gone are the experimental days of the Symbols album or Adios – but this is the do-it-yourself album, and band, fans grew to love before they broke up in 1999.

KMFDM - better than the best.

No comments: