Lay back and soak up the new Laibach (see what I did there?). “Spectre” has arrived. The thought of am entirely new Laibach album gets this review rather excited, as their last three releases, while worthwhile, have been a collection of re-interpreted national anthems (Volk), a compiled soundtrack (Iron Sky) and a best of (An Introduction to). A whole album of new Laibach tunes to sink my teeth into? Yummy!
So is it a tasty treat, or have I got audio indigestion? Happily it is the former. ‘Spectre’ is a highly entertaining listen, though the themes that run through the album sit a little heavier on the stomach. While I don’t think that anyone would deny that Laibach are masters of their art, this art is often pompous, rather camp and hugely fun. This is partly why I love Laibach. Yes they can have their serious moments, art-house moments too with numerous more weighty entries to their back catalogue. ‘Spectre’ sort of falls between the two. Lyrical themes are declaratory, revolutionary, ominous and poetic. Musically, the compositions are intelligent, sometimes sombre but more often than not there are still those ingredients that simply make you smile because they are fun.
The album begins with ‘The Whistleblowers’ which to these ears will quickly become an instant Laibach classic. Military drums, orchestral backdrops over pumping beats and synths with a rousing vocal delivery that puts a wide grin on my face which turned into a snort of laughter after the final cymbal crash. Lyically the song appears to take inspiration from those individuals who haven’t been afraid to stand up to the information hoarding governments and organisations of this world. ‘No History’ features a strong female vocal lead and is one of the more modern ‘industrial’ sounding tracks on ‘Spectre’, huge beats, epic synths, a mean bassline, grinding mechanical sounds capped off with an in your face chorus.’Eat Liver!’ (which amusingly rhymes with Stand and Deliver) is ludicrous but still highly enjoyable pomp.’Americana’ maintains the upbeat feel with more signature orchestration and arrangements.’We are Millions and millions are One’ has a more retro feel to the drum programming, harking back to the sound of early Mute era releases.’Eurovision’ has an ominous feel to it, proclaiming ‘Europe is falling apart,indeed, more evidence of the more political slant running through the album. ‘Walk With Me’ is endearing sing along heavy pop with added Laibach bombast and beefy beats.’Bossanova, with the predominantly female vocals sounds playful and energetic inspite of the revolutionary themes. Closing out the album we have ‘Resistance is Futile’ which mixes a cheesy and dated synth pop sound with a contrastingly solid electro rock chorus. Finally we have ‘Koran’, perhaps the ballad of the album, atmospheric enough to accompany the closing credits to a contemplative movie and certainly a poignant ending to a fine chapter in the laibach story.