For such an amiable assemblage of gearheads, KMFDM have suffered a career that’s been one bum rap after another. Started in 1986 as a style consortium of hip hop, techno and metal topped off with Chumbawama-like faux political shout-alongs, the band was unjustly lumped in with Skinny Puppy and other purveyors of industrial mope. Then came the Columbine massacre, and the band’s reported status as the freak killers’ musical inspiration. So it’s no wonder that KMFDM’s Sascha Konietzko (keyboards, computers, the kitchen sink if it’s MIDI’ed), Tim Skold (guitars) and sometime vocalist Lucia Cifarelli have tried to hold on to what brand name value they have by mirror-christening themselves anew as MDFMK. Whatever the case, their self-titled debut is a wonderfully deranged technological stew of styles which, on at least one occasion, attains the absolute pinnacle of whatever it is KMF, er, MDFMK do.
The record starts off with “Now,” a snarling rampage through the heretofore unexplored realm where Goldie, Cradle of Filth and Erasure somehow coexist. Between the multi adrenochrome hyper-beats, Konietzko’s buzzsaw vocals, Skold’s guitars and the aforementioned kitchen sink, it’s a miracle the song was ever mastered without a significant portion of the mix spilling off the lathe. And that’s just for openers.
“Rabblerouser” evokes Atari Teenage Riot but with more — surely this sounds absurd — nuance. Other songs genre-hop expertly from grindcore burnouts (“Transmutation”) to Autechre-esque random noise generation (“Be Like Me”), but nothing can prepare one for the glam boogie glory that is “Torpedoes.”
Konietzko’s remarkable clumsiness with the English language, a massive, “Rock ‘n Roll, Part 2” beat, a flick-your-Bic guitar figure The Sweet would die for, a dance floor scream-along break a la Bowie’s “Suffragette City” and the clenched-fist chorus cry of “God! Damn! The torpedoes!” all combine to make a track that’s so glam good, only a dead person would pause to wonder ‘But what’s it mean?”
Who knows? Who cares? Although nothing on the CD reaches this trashy peak of aggro pop brilliance, it’s Konietzko and company’s long-promised moment of quintessentially sublime/stupid, rock ‘n roll perfection. Not bad for a first record.