Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Young Gods

Released 1985 on Play it again Sam
Reviewed by stray, 12/11/2002ce

I first saw this band at Reading Festival many years ago (about 12 years ago I think). I was actually down the front jostling for position waiting for Janes Addiction to come on (who didn't, Perry was ill apparently). Then these guys came on to the sound of a looping and wheezing calliope. Franz Treichler started rocking slowly back and forth against his mic stand slowly singing 'la fille de la mort'. A black leather jacket, gravelly sub cohen voice and a hell pocked face, Franz is the perfect rock front man, no question. Cesare Pizzi on keyboards triggering sequences and Use on drums.

Anyway, oh cool, it's Suicide with a live drummer I thought. Then the deranged strings and electric guitar samples kicked in, then Franz threw himself a good 10 feet in the air and came back to earth softly like a leaf. Fuck, I'm in love.

After that weekend I set about finding their albums. First one I got hold of was 'L'eau Rouge' which is what they were promoting at the time. All the tracks I heard at the gig were there, and I was happy. But that last track, the one that really stuck with me wasn't. So I got hold of the first album, and fuck, this is THE young gods album. It's all been downhill from this one. The track I was looking for was 'Envoye' and it was apparently their first single. I remember reading an interview with Franz once where he said 'we should have just released 'Envoye' and then split up'. As mindblowing music statements go I agree, they would be legend now.

To the album, firstly the drummer was different he was Frank Bagnoud, and he's better than Use on record anyway. This whole album screams a lo-fi sensibility, something they unfortunately lost when they got too many toys in their studio. Most of the lyrics are in French (they are a Swiss band and Franz sings in French, German or English. English is apparently the common language between the three of them) and deal with either shamanism or sex, and it's a damn good mix of the two as well. It's all reaching out for something bigger than they are lyrically and sonically.

The opening track 'nous de la lune' is Krautrock of the major head thumping slowly kind, then 'Jusqu'Au Bout' freaks into existance with dissonant strings. Then we all go shagging outside to 'A ciel ouvert'. 'Jimmy' still hammering, proper punk this one, and a big inspiration to me.

One of my faves on this album is 'Fais la mouette' (Do the seagull) maybe I'm just a sucker for dissonance and gated distorted guitar over a slow beat march (and who the fuck isn't anyway ?). But no, it's not for all that, it's for that warped out of tune cheap horn pad at the end, and Franzs vocal seagull impression genius!

'Percussionne' is only for the hardcore, it sucks you in with a mogadon ridden thump and then goes all way, way out there.

The more I listen to this debut the more I despair about what this band turned into. A crap copy of the ppl they inspired. If you want to know where Bono got his current stage act from look no further than Franz, it's so obvious and nowhere near as good. 'L'eau Rouge' is an okay album with moments of true beauty (Charlotte & L'Amourir) 'Young gods play kurt weil' is also worth the money just to hear the thrash metal version of Mack the knife and hear (september song) where the KLF knicked that lovely spinning guitar sound, that they used on the 'Chill out' album, from. but 'Tv Sky' , 'Only Heaven' well, they're bollocks. Sorry, I don't want to hear 'Young Gods' try to sound like the Doors, Ministry, or like U2.

Back to this debut album though. 'Feu' swagger rock, it swaggers, it is the sound of 'two articulated trucks humping in a layby' Not my metaphor that, I think it was Simon Reynolds description of TV Sky (or Everett True's). Well this track deserves it more. Then the album has a comedy moment, a cover of Gary Glitters 'Did you miss me' with those cheap horn pads again. 'Si Tu Gardes' this is an odd one, makes me imagine Charles Aznavour fronting a band of rusty robots. 'Irrtum boys' is the only weak track on this album, 'nuff said, it is filler.

Ahahaa 'Envoye' (go for it and fuck off - interesting translation). I defy you to listen to this loud without breaking most of your house. Everytime I've seen Young Gods live I have always picked up an injury when this track came on. 'These great crows, are our mounts, may all these bites, lead us to beauty. go for it and fuck off'. Makes me all warm inside that does. BUT this is not the finest recording of Envoye, oh no, for that you'll have to track down the 'Longue Route' single (do so, you will be glad) which has a live version of 'Envoye' and 'Pas mal' on the B-Side.

'Soul idiot' Back to the marching mogadon,clipped bass line, and deranged string section, you too will now be an evangelist for this album. And for the last track, we're back to shagging outdoors again 'Comme Si C'etait La Derniere Fois' (as if it were the last time).

This band have been misrepresented by the press throughout their career. Some of the worst and most ill informed comparisions I've heard have been Kraftwerk (solely 'cos they're a bunch of foriegners who use keyboards from what I can make out) and the Doors (mostly because of Franzs incredible stage presence) Yeah, yeah, I want to have Franz's babies. But if you saw him move you would too, A Rock God doing Tai Chi, prepared to throw himself from great heights. They've been called industrial, metal, gothic and they're none of the above. They are ROCK, in big letters scarred onto your back on this album. If forced to make comparison, and peer lists then on this album they are Throbbing Gristle, Stravinsky, Kurt Weill, Sparks (on Ketamine), and everything Einsturzende Neubaten think they are but never achieved as well.

Live they have always amazed me. I never got that old Nietzche 'Superman' thing 'till I saw and heard this band. This is the real deal. Get some Franz and the boys in your life.

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