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Volume 90, Issue 98
Wednesday, April 02, 1997
Luke Haines must be a frustrated individual. Although his main band, The Auteurs, has released three critically-lauded LPs, it can't seem to get arrested in its native UK. Same goes for North America, where lack of interest has prevented The Auteurs from ever touring overseas.
After the release and subsequent commercial failure of the band's third and best CD, After Murder Park, Haines put The Auteurs on the backburner and formed this side project the experimental and mysterious Baader Meinhof.
This self-titled debut is Haines' opportunity to indulge in musical and lyrical content that wouldn't be suitable if released under the guise of The Auteurs. Thematically, Baader Meinhof exposes Haines' obsession with politics, terrorism and international crime. Most of the lyrics read like either the twisted writings of a vengeful extremist or the fanatical ravings of a political activist.
In the concluding track, Baader Meinhof, Haines quietly sings, "Ali Fatah in Palestine with the P.L.O./She put the kids in a P.F.L.P. camp/It's a sham - suicide patricide/Rich kid with a gun." Meanwhile, the sparse "Back On The Farm" sees Haines growl, "Your spineless mass and your spineless man/This is the hate socialist collective/All mental health corrected."
Even if you don't know what he's going on about, Baader Meinhof is still a captivating listen. The instrumentation and arrangements are minimal and the unusual combination of percussion, guitar and strings works incredibly well. Most of the songs here, oddly enough, are nothing but three-minute pop songs which have been mutated by off-kilter lyrics and unconventional arrangements.
Like the work of The Auteurs, Baader Meinhof will almost certainly go unnoticed, but the precious few who do hear this album will undoubtedly wonder why they hadn't heard of Luke Haines before.
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Copyright © The Gazette 1997