Posted by: Nick Walters | April 6, 2014

Laibach: Spectre

Laibach-SPECTRE-Vinyl-Edition

The first track on this album, The Whistleblowers, is so insanely catchy that once heard you WILL be whistling it for weeks after only one hearing. I had it as the alarm tone on my phone, but had to change it after a couple of days as it was driving me nuts. It is a brilliant opening to this astounding album by Slovenian agit-pop veterans Laibach. If anything, it sounds very like an industrial Yello; Milan Fras’s voice is very similar to Dieter Meier’s and the prominent use of a female vocalist recalls the same tactic by the Swiss electro gods. If you had told me that Americana was a new Yello song I would have believed you. There are also shades of Depeche Mode and doomy 80s electro-goth – the music is meaty and bombastic, very OTT in places and it makes for a highly entertaining, sometimes thrilling listen.

Laibach have always notoriously used the iconography of political propaganda and it reaches its ultimate form on this album. The title is almost certainly deliberately named after the opening line of the Communist Party Manifesto, but it also recalls James Bond uber-baddies Spectre, though this is a complete misnomer and I only mention it because reasons.  The CD comes with a booklet containing lyrics (‘Party Songs’), a Spectre Party manifesto and you can even register your Party membership (I have). ‘With the release of the album SPECTRE, we have decided to form an international Party in order to create a possibility for an organized and synchronized international movement, helping to change the world wherever necessary and possible.’ Okay!  ‘Tis only a glorified fan club, but it’s all in good fun.

And those lyrics! They would be worrying if Laibach actually were fascists. Take this, from Resistance Is Futile:

Do not fight against us –
Resistance is futile!
We are Laibach
And you will be assimilated –
Blitzkreig! Blitzkreig!

As with the Bond reference, any link to the Borg is almost certainly accidental, though mention of assimilation makes one wonder. Elsewhere there is a manic exhortation to Eat Liver! to aid the revolutionary effort and a piece entitled Koran in which Milan Fras croons ‘Words are nice / Words are memories of pain’. The fatwa’s in the post, comrade. And to cap it all, Laibach have assimilated the Beastie Boys’ call to arms as updated by Public Enemy: ‘Fight For Your Right To Party For Your Right To Fight!’ Cheeky sods.

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