De Staat ‘Machinery’ (Cool Green Recordings) 2011
Perhaps it’s due to the ever-growing hordes of privileged and middle-class kids taking over the entire music and creative industries, or maybe it’s the embarrassment and threat of being ridiculed, but political rhetoric seems to have had a marked absence of late.
The Dutch five-piece, De Staat, at least try to inject some kind of primal, howling rage, lyrically into the musical landscape – though it’s not always made clear or audible above the cataclysmic and inferno sonic bombardment backing.
Even their selected band moniker derives from, fellow Dutch, composer Louis Andriessen’s further musings and thesis on Plato’s theory that art could be used as a powerful tool in which to overthrow governments – Andriessen concluded that although he wished to put this to the test, he found it impossible to carry out in today’s society.
Polygenesis in spirit, an abundance of thrilling and miscreant influences run wild throughout the groups’ electro-Cramps, psycho-rock posturing stances.
They can be real ugly heavy, as in the CAN – Krautrock had to creep in their somewhere, their hometown of Nijmegen boarders Germany – on steroids meets Psychic TV sound clash opener, ‘Ah, I See’, or as with the grinding rockabilly trashcan hurling, Kelis swaggering, and kooky manifesto sneering ‘Sweatshop’.
You get the impression that these guys have replaced the strings on their guitars for barbed wire, especially on the threatening thump army-drill ode to Halal meat, ‘Old Macdonald Don’t Have No Farm No More’. A buzz saw synthesizer and glitch pulsing bowels of hell dubstep bass, dare to drown out the, almost, tongue-in-cheek mantras, that includes the line, “Get that chicken, face to the east, slit that throat, ready for the feast”.
Equally daring in subject matter, ‘Serial Killer’ growls and snaps as a sauntering Funkadelic crossed with AC/DC backing as fronted by embittered Johnny Cash, preys a hymn to a purposeful murderer: “I’m a ghost from another town, serial killer on the loose”. Backing our narrator all the way is an accompanying chin-stroking nod chorus of “Right on”, as if in agreement with the macabre brutal pastor-like killer’s eulogy.
Respites don’t arrive very often, rather De Staat prefer to tread a different pathway instead; usually one that’s packed full of dark and wicked intentions.
With the aptly entitled ‘Psycho Disco’ they burn-up The Gossip and Depeche Mode, baring their teeth as they remonstrate with Marilyn Manson for kicks.
Eno and David Byrne’s ‘Regiment’ track – from their collaborative 1981 LP ‘My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts’ – is given a severe Nine Inch Nails style kicking, resplendent with harassed megaphone vocals on ‘Rooster-Man’. They launch the final Molotov in the guise of ‘Back To The Grind’; junkyard scrapes and panel-beaten percussion, troubled by ominous grunts, add an apocalyptic mood, as the narratives harsh lyrics fall straight out of a Cormac McCarthy novel.
The politically charged, and laced follow-up to their equally impressive debut, ‘Wait For Evolution’, Machinery further promotes their noisy revolutionary, post-modern brand of industrial rock’n’roll.