1973, Music

Faust IV (1973)

Faust were always the wackiest of Krautrock bands, so it’s fitting that the first track of this album is called “Krautrock.” By listening to it, I’m not 100% sure if it’s satire of other Krautrock, a legitimate attempt to make some far out version of motorik (which wasn’t their thing anyway), or something else. But I bring it up because, even if the most obvious signs that they do not take themselves seriously have fallen by the wayside, there’s still plenty here to let you know that this is a band that is not too serious, not self-important. That’s a good thing when you’re listening to experimental music.

You can tell by the titles too, of course – “The Sad Skinhead” is a little more coherent, song-wise, than the vocal efforts on their earlier records. It actually sounds like a conventional song at times!

“Jennifer” could almost pass for CAN if the vocals were crazier and it didn’t have what might pass for a chorus. It’s not as good as CAN, though; it’s a little more conventional than CAN and less well produced, and it’s also just less interesting. The more I think about it, though, it sure sounds like it’s trying to be CAN. It’s only in the last minute or so you realize you’re listening to Faust.

“Just a Second” is much closer to what I think of as Faust’s sound, even if it does start off with a bit of a Krautrock vamp to it. It’s so like Faust to interrupt it in the middle. (Also a little like Neu!)

At this point, there are errors in the tracking listing. I don’t know how intentional they were, but I wouldn’t put it past them.

“Giggy Smile” is one of those bonkers vocal tracks, which sound pretty inimitable, followed by a vamp also pretty typical of the band. But then for some reason it segues into “Picnic on a Frozen River” from So Far. I don’t love it when musicians repeat themselves.

“Läuft” has lyrics that sound French to me, despite the German title. There are acoustic guitars and, from memory, I feel like Faust are the only “Krautrock” band that ever bothered with them. (Well, excluding Amon Duul II, who are a lot more prog than Krautrock.) This is very much a Faust kind of track, with a vamp that breaks down after a while, and which doesn’t quite sound of a piece with the other Krautrock bands.

“Run” is more in line with what Neu! or even the German electronic bands were doing at the time. Borderline ambient.

“It’s a Bit of a Pain” begins as a soft ballad because…why not? This is Faust after all. Destroying your expectations is the whole point. But then it does what, by this point, you’d expect it to do, and gets kind of bonkers.

Like all Faust albums, this is inconsistent. Some of the stuff works quite well but a lot of it sounds, to me, too much like the other bands in their scene. I don’t like it as much as their earlier albums.

Diminishing returns with this kind of thing, for me.


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