Baader Meinhof - Baader Meinhof

"YOU'RE GOING home in a f??ing ambulance!"

Come on over! Bring some booze! Tell your mates! Just make sure you take some books on '70s terrorism with you! Actually, while you're at it, you'd better pack a gas mask and some fire protection gear as well 'cos you never know what might happen. After all, it is Luke Haines' house you're heading round to.

Luke, as you might know, is the chap from The Auteurs who used to write pleasant little songs about showgirls and house-sitters, but who now writes infinitely less pleasant little songs about horrific injuries and dead children. In fact, more recently - with the future of The Auteurs, erm, hanging in the balance - he's taken his pathological obsessions to further extremes; renaming himself after a bunch of deadly German nihilists and recording this 'experimental' concept album. And it sounds like... The Auteurs! But with violins and slightly less of a conventional 'rock' base. That is to say, 'Baader Meinhof' isn't much of a departure at all. True, tracks like 'Kill Ramirez' are lyrically twisted and deformed. Sure, 'There's Gonna Be An Accident' is full of vaguely exploratory funk. And yes, much of the album is dominated by low-rent production. But didn't his other band do all of this on their last LP? Didn't they call it 'After Murder Park'? Wasn't it furnished with scuffed-up production courtesy of no-fi deity Steve Albini? Is it all worth it?

Not really. If you want arty conceptualism, there are umpteen American bands who can do the job more adventurously, and if it's a terrorism/pop interface you're after, you can always read The Black Album by Hanif Kureishi. Thus, unfortunately for Mr Haines, the warped indulgences of his Baader Meinhof alter ego remain surplus to requirements.

Still, at least it gives him the opportunity to wear dark glasses and hang around airport terminals pretending to rendezvous with someone called Klaus. And we all need to do that from time to time.


Tom Cox