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Faust - So Far CD (album) cover

SO FAR

Faust

 

Krautrock

3.50 | 101 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
5 stars The second album by Germany's answer to the Mothers of Invention is the most accessible of their early (and best) efforts, and yet still wildly creative in a typically dissident Krautrock way. But it's an odd choice of title for a band with only one previous album to their credit, unless the intended message was, "So Far, we've really screwed Polydor Records, ha ha!"

Here the group made a genuine effort to manage the sometimes slapdash anarchy of their 1971 debut, but without compromising any of that album's tongue-in-cheek, anti-establishment attitude. The packaging of the original LP even reversed the cover concept of the first album in a way that reflected the music within: in this case a model of opaque artistry instead of the earlier all-transparent weirdness. (Included with the original vinyl was a lavish portfolio of artwork illustrating each song, happily intact in my own music library.)

Their collective nose-thumbing was more discreet, better crafted, and is still amusing to listeners in on the joke. That trademark dry German wit underpins the willful simplicity of the album opener, "It's a Rainy Day (Sunshine Girl)", a prototypical pop song reduced to its most basic elements: a steady beat (to say the least) and a silly lyric. Both are repeated in a robotic monotone for over seven minutes, eventually reaching a climactic mock saxophone solo that never fails to make me smile.

Even more radical (for this group) was the tasteful acoustic guitar melody of "On the Way to Abamäe". Faust was often many things, but rarely so pretty. Compare that brief interlude to the driving rock 'n' roll posturing of "No Harm", with its shouted nonsensical mantra ("Daddy, take the banana...tomorrow is Sunday!"), or to the more unsettling "Mamie is Blue", sounding like the earth-shaking footfalls of some great Teutonic behemoth lumbering across the Lower Saxony countryside.

The title track meanwhile works like a Faust playbook, opening on a drunken stumble of overlapping acoustic guitars before settling into one of the most hypnotic Krautrock grooves this side of CAN, played in a flat-footed but swinging count of seven. And the consumer parody "I've Got My Car and My TV" is the band at its iconoclastic best, complete with rinky-dink melodies, children singing (and coughing), and arguably the catchiest instrumental break ever recorded. It might have been a satirical take on the post-war Wirtschaftswunder, and was apparently good enough to merit a revisit, on the "Faust IV" album in 1974.

The balance of the disc is pure ZAPPA, ending in a Dada cabaret deconstruction blended from equal measures of pure craft and tacky pastiche.

I'm not the only ProgArchive reviewer to recognize "So Far" as the ideal port of entry for newcomers to the off-kilter universe of Faust. But I'll go a step further and award the album an unreserved five stars, for quality and longevity, and for marking an essential pit stop along the winding Krautrock autobahn.

Neu!mann | 5/5 |

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