Release Date: Feb 1, 2011
Record label: Bureau B
Genre(s): Experimental, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Experimental Rock, Art Rock, Kraut Rock
If Pete Frame drew a family tree of this experimental band, founded in 1971 in Germany, he’d face a challenge. The newest release comes with a respectable pedigree, including founders Jean-Hervé Péron on bass and Zappi Diermaier on drums, joined by Gallon Drunk guitarist James Johnston and vocalist-keyboardist Geraldine Swayne. The original band, which lasted officially until 1975, reformed in the early 1990s.
Faust are a venerable institution in experimental rock, and even if only two of the original members remain on this most recent recording from the legendary group’s post-‘disappearance’ renaissance (and bifurcation into two fluid, distinct groups), Something Dirty has something of the reliability and surprise of rediscovering a trusty, well-trod paperback on the shelves of a particularly high-quality, secondhand but not-to-be-outdone bookstore. In this incarnation, Faustian oldhands Zappi W. Diermaier and Jean-Hervé Peron are joined yet again by new artbreed couple James Johnston and Geraldine Swayne.
The saga continues on 2011's Something Dirty, the fourth offering from the Jean-Hervé Péron and Zappi Diermaier version of Faust. (The other group using the name contains original member Hans Joachim Irmler.) As is typical of this unit, there are lineup changes. 2009's C'es Com ... Com ….
Of all the Krautrock pioneers, Faust have made the most unpredictable, contrarian, and sometimes just confounding music. Their biography is pretty complicated too. Disbanded in 1975, they reunited in the 1990s, only to split into two groups-- both called Faust-- a decade later. One, a rotating collective lead by founder Hans Joachim Irmler, released an album last year called Faust Is Last that was thought to be a swan song but never officially confirmed as one.
There are a couple of Fausts floating around these days so its important to distinguish, right up front, which one we are talking about. This incarnation essentially consists of the rhythm section of the original, or “mythical” band, in Julian Cope’s words. So it’s not surprising that Something Dirty leans heavily on thudding bass and drum patterns, with the new guys left to generate riffs and feedback on top.
Who are Faust? Explaining the genesis of these krautrock legends would take up reams of pages at this point in time, but here’s the most pertinent part in regard to their recent history: there are now two bands named Faust, both containing members from the original lineup of the group, who operate entirely separately. In 2010 the 'other' Faust release a record titled Faust is Last, which featured founding member Jochen Irmler. This album, titled Something Dirty, is a version of Faust put together by original members Jean-Hervé Péron and Zappi W.
The title of this album might well refer to the fighting technique of [a]Faust[/a]’s chief nutter [b]Jean-Hervé Péron[/b], who once biffed a member of [a]British Sea Power[/a]. It’s certainly a messy record, made by half of a broken legend: following a schism, there are now two [a]Faust[/a]s led by two original members, with this being the looser incarnation.Here, the experimentalism is so slipshod you’re left worrying songs might fall to pieces while listening, taking your stereo with them. [b]‘Lost The Signal’[/b] is a meandering hippy jam that ends in a threadbare wigout; [b]‘Whet’[/b] the detritus on the studio floor.