Anybody who really knows me, has heard me lamenting over the fact that I still did not get my first tattoo. But connected to that is the usual question what it should be? A symbol for the insiders? A picture of my family? A drawing of a personally important building? Or a quote? No, nobody should get a quote, because what about discovering whether the person quoted will always remain a hero in one‘s own eyes. Nevertheless, if I ever had a quote engraved on my body in black I know for damn sure, which line it has to be: Ich hab’ 1933 Gründe, schwarz zu sehen! by German Post-Hardcore band Fjørt. And now the trio got a new record out! Excited!
First off: I will not translate the lyrics into English on this one. If you want to know what they mean, use the world wide web to find out. I do not neglect lightly this duty but I think one owes it to this band whose lyrics have always been more than the typical good-vs-bad-thinking that some Hardcore bands are known for. Simple answers are not Fjørt’s thing and therefore I totally rely on the reader’s strife and thirst for self-acquired knowledge. My “inkable lines” above are a good example for that as they do not simply accuse the right-wing-part but also look around the bend which is shown in the complete quote ”Ich bin so müde vom Zählen / ich hab 1933 Gründe, schwarz zu sehen / Doch egal, wie viel da kommt / ich hab alles was ich brauch / denn die 1933 Gründe, ihr habt sie auch” (Taken from: ”Raison”). Both sides have a reason (German: raison!) for screaming, for being angry, for not accepting the other side. But please do not take this complex thinking for agreeing with the fascists or acknowledging their existence as a mere need in any given democracy. The band from Aachen, in the west of Germany, simply deny easy answers and demand looking at things from many perspectives.
Nevertheless, their new record was five years in the making and of course these years have left their mark on Chris, David and Frank. Their music is (at first glance) less angry and much more introspective to the point that they seem to self-loathe their own existence when David screams ”Ich tue gar nichts / Weil es gemütlich ist / hier bei uns / Tue gar nichts / und bin gnadenlos informiert / David / Fick dich!” (from ”kolt”) and thus even compares himself to one of these keyboard warriors. It seems as if they think they said enough with their former records and have turned to introspection. A movement, Germans already delivered in the 19th and 20th century when they turned a blind eye to the authoritarian monarchies in many of the German states (after the victory against Napoleon) and the fascist regime of the Nazis. Interestingly both happened more or less exactly 100 and 200 years ago. The self-reflective mood goes so far as to say they did all they knew, ”Hab alles getan, was ich weiß / zu wissen es geht es reicht” (in ”sfspc”). Pure self-doubt – was it really enough?
However, on the other side they also once again put their finger into the wound of the blatant over-powerful capitalism and the denial to care for the other animals on earth. They reference the moment when capitalism in the form of the first add on German TV (back in 1956) took over control of people’s minds. They go so far as to connect that with the idea of (over) consumption of meat when they have a wonderfully innocent child’s voice sing ”Vier Drittel langt für mich / Den Rest darfst du verteilen / Denn mehr zu haben / Bedeutet mehr zu sein / Ich kann nichts für und gegen mich” (from ”lakk”). One can see that the band is still able to look at many things from manifold perspectives.
However, one should not forget to listen to Fjørt for their musical skills as well, slogans only get you so far. At first glance this record is a tiny bit more austere, less accessible than its predecessor Couleur. In a way that makes this new record even more interesting because on the one hand you got real bangers like ”salz” which are nothing but pedal-to-the-medal and close to a band like Touché Amoré. Or a track like ”fernost” which is pure post-punk poetry in New Order-memorial stomping. And on the other hand there are really introspective, slowly building tracks like the opener ”nichts” which is also the longest track with more than six minutes. And sometimes I hear traces of the time when Los Gatos-band Dredg was the best on in the world with their sound incorporating the one thing that U2 was really good at – creating hymns for the outsiders without trying to remain an outsider. Constructing huge hymns without putting too much emphasis on one self. Some parts in ”feivel”, the instrumental interlude ”wasser” or in ”fünfegrade” have that certain magic that Dredg showed in every little nook of their opus magnum El Cielo. And in a way the progression of the Fjørt bears some similarity to Dredg or also Cave-In whose hardcore-early-days also never understood how Stephen and the others could step away from their early Prog-Metalcore days. Same goes for Touché Amoré whose early-on-fans also complained that they are not repeating the …Dead Horse-formula until the death of the band but allowed in more melody on Stage Four.
Yes, Fjørt might lose some fans with this “more mood – less hits” attitude – but are we really sure that those really ever understood the band and their complex handling of things? If you got it, you’ll stay. If you didn’t, you should try. Huge step, huge respect. Still the best German The Wave band.