Chronique | KMFDM - LET GO

Pierre Sopor 30 janvier 2024

KMFDM are keeping up the pace: a year and a half after the release of HYËNA, Sascha Konietzko and Lucia Cifarelli's band are already back with a new batch of anthems that are faithful to their unproven savoir-faire. KMFDM are forty years young now, and although we've often teased their tendency to make one album after another sounding pretty much the same, their latest album stood out with a more surprising approach than its predecessors, as if KMFDM were now old enough not to care about meeting expectations. With its artwork by Aidan 'BRUTE' Hughes and its five-letter title - characteristics shared by the vast majority of its predecessors - LET GO proudly, even brazenly, presents itself as the worthy heir to four decades of ultra heavy beats and various hybrids.

The mix between the heaviness of the riffs and the lightness of the general atmosphere, between the diction of Käpt'n K, still as monolithic as he is charismatic, and a general liveliness that could almost turn into a disco anthem, the title track has all the caracteristics of a KMFDM single. Groovy, with a minimalist chorus made for chanting: it's fun, it's familiar territory, and it's clear that KMFDM are in the same falsely relaxed mood as in recent years. LET GO: the title invites you to let yourself go. Forget your postures, your ideas of stylistic limits and their narrow boxes, KMFDM is having fun and dabbling in everything. And while these trends have always been present, they've been expressed in a totally assertive way in recent years.

There's something playful, even exhilarating, about this appetite: brass instruments borrowed from reggae that regularly lend a psychedelic hue, the funk touches corrupted by the guitars of PUSH! the more menacing ambience of NEXT MOVE (a real earworm) and its rap by Andrew 'Ocelot' Lindsley (already present on KMFDM's last two albums), the furiously spat out electro-punk refrains of WHEN THE BELL TOLLS, the nostalgic pop tinged with irony of AIRHEAD, the darkwave melancholy of TOUCH, the heavy Germanic morgue of ERLKÖNIG... Once again, KMFDM's music is enriched by a variety of influences, gaining in richness, diversity and stimulating surprises as it moves away from gruff industrial metal and its satisfyingly primitive efficiency. It's not the first time (the brilliant NIHIL album springs to mind), but we often tend to forget.

We mentioned earlier how the band tickled our nostalgic funny bone with AIRHEAD and its ode to the fantasised 70s and 80s full of consumerism and superficiality: we admit we prefer the flashback offered at the end of the album with WW2023. We're familiar with KMFDM's more political side, and seeing them revisit their 2003 track inspired by the Bush administration's wars with a dub sauce leaves us with a sinister, offbeat aftertaste in our mouths, a reminder that this facade of relaxed fun is not devoid of a certain irony an some apocalyptic pessimism.

In the end, that's where the main interest of LET GO lies, in this very special balance between fun and something darker lurking beneath the surface, between respect for KMFDM's codes and their cosmopolitan tendencies to embrace and incorporate everything into their music, but also in this perpetual reference to the past, to nostalgia, counterbalanced by an attitude turned towards the future, experimentation and modernity. We appreciate just as much identifying those distinctive guitars (albeit more subdued than in the past) as we enjoy the boldness with which they are grafted. KMFDM can allow themselves to do anything without losing their cool-attitude, and LET GO exudes a breath of untouched freshness and almost youthful energy.