giovedì 3 settembre 2009
Baader Meinhof "Baader Meinhof"
Album difficile per chi veniva dalle sonorità degli Auteurs, ma che da uno come Luke Haines non sorprende più di tanto.
Il gruppo, che prende il nome dal gruppo terroristico tedesco degli anni 70, si muove su coordinate elettroniche e sintetizzatori, accenni funky, percussioni, con un Luke Haines oscuro e provocatore come non mai.
Un disco controverso. Decisamente. (1996 Virgin)
Back in 1993 when the auteurs pioneered Brit pop, few could have predicted the bizarre detours that the band's leader, Luke Haines, would take – and the pariahlike status he'd acquire along the way. Haines had always juggled a film student's romanticism with a peculiarly English misanthropy.
But as his output flirted increasingly with the second half of that equation, he found himself a willing exile from the '90s British music community he helped found.
Still with us? Good, because the dark side of the '70s revival starts here.
These days, Haines has temporarily shelved the Auteurs to record under a new name, Baader Meinhof.
The album serves, he says, as the soundtrack to an imaginary film about the ultraleftist '70s German terrorist gang who, via PLO-backed kidnappings, bombings and hijackings, ruthlessly committed itself to the overthrow of Germany's government.
Baader Meinhof eschew the powerchord politics of Haines' one-time punk heroes the Clash in favor of a more ambitious musical hybrid comprising broken funk, Middle Eastern string sections and cheesy blaxploitation synth sounds.
All of this is allied to part sinister, part tongue-in-cheek lyrics ("Do it for God/Do it for Allah/Put your faith in Captain Muhmad and Al-Fatah," from "Meet Me at the Airport"). Echoes of Innervisions-era Stevie Wonder and exotic violins vie for supremacy on "There's Gonna Be an Accident," while Haines' ear for perfect pop harmonies is at its solid-gold best in "It's a Moral Issue," a sarcastic retort to a record-company employee who dared question the singer's scruples.
Other highlights are the snare-drum-crack-driven staccato of "Back on the Farm"; the ornately orchestrated, Zeppelin-esque riffery of "Kill Ramirez"; and the beguilingly pretty "Mogadishu."
Haines' latest direction may seem borne of extremism for extremism's sake, but Baader Meinhof is ultimately redeemed by the music's bitter wit and adventurousness. At his best, Haines even succeeds in playing with our accepted notions of what a pop album should be. What's next? A drum-and-bass homage to the IRA? (Mat Smith - http://www.rollingstone.com/)
With Baader Meinhof, Luke Haines, frontman of The Auteurs, experimented with a more aggressive, political style of music.
The tone of the music, with fuzzy yet harsh guitars and assaulting keyboards, is at once crude-sounding, over-produced (in the best way), and decidedly pop-oriented. It's hard to say exactly what Haines is protesting, but rest assured that it's something quite artsy. One thing that's certain is that he has some fascination with the German terrorist group from which the band, the album, and two songs herein take their names. Like Haines' work with Black Box Recorder, there is a pretentious quality to most of the songs, which actually ends up being quite endearing.
Singing leftist lyrics over perpetually distorted instruments on "Meet Me at the Airport" and "Theme From 'Burn Warehouse Burn,'," Haines and company have created confused sociopolitical statements that are never less than keenly interesting. "There's Gonna Be an Accident" mixes strings with breathy vocals and more terrorist lyrics towards a fun, funky goal.
The overall feel of the album is of a crunchy, finely arranged series of art attacks. As a side project of The Auteurs, Baader Meinhof seems to work as a minimal, pop ode to free will, whether the socialist views are simply affections or truly felt.
Though Haines is sometimes criticized as being a lightweight because of his pop leanings, these ten appealing songs clearly promote the artist as an accomplished, underrated songwriter.
Invoking alternative worldviews instead of the ennui of Black Box Recorder, this piece is quite accessible and full of pop gems, despite or because of the politics inside the tunes. (Tim DiGravina/All Music Guide - http://www.answers.com/)
Drawing inspiration from sick and sensational headlines is nothing new in underground rock: In his influential mid-'80s group Big Black, Steve Albini delivered provocative ditties about a child sex ring in rural Minnesota and kids who were hooked on torching things with kerosene.
But with his first release outside the Auteurs, Luke Haines tries to push things even farther. He takes the name of a notorious early '70s German terrorist group; uses the members' mug shots as album art, and crafts a conceptual effort based on the inner musings of sinister souls ranging from the sadistic rebels in Mogadishu to the legendary hit man Carlos "the Jackal" Ramirez.
I know what you're thinking: "Yawn. If I want shock rock, I'll listen to Marilyn Manson." But like Nick Cave's Murder Ballads, Baader Meinhof succeeds because Haines is a very literate pervert. "Christ was an extremist/With a kamikaze soul/Happy birthday, Anna/You're 29 years old," he sings in "Mogadishu," effectively capturing the mix of political fervor and messianic delusion that can cause a normal middle-class kid to start playing with Uzis and plastic explosives.
Haines may be a creep, but he can certainly turn a phrase. What's more, the music matches the lyrical sophistication.
Two drummers create a loose, clattering foundation of herky-jerk percussion; a violinist saws away in an understated, melancholic way, and the moody minor-key melodies sound as if they've been sampled from a futuristic funeral parlor.
Through it all wafts Haines' surprisingly chipper and tuneful vocals, and they somehow turn these unlikely ingredients into strong pop hooks. You'll never have more fun singing along with a more despicable group of people. (Jim Derogatis - http://www.amazon.com/)
- Baader Meinhof
- Meet Me at the Airport
- There's Gonna Be an Accident
- Theme from "Burn Warehouse Burn"
- ...It's a Moral Issue
- Back on the Farm
- Kill Ramirez
- Baader Meinhof