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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Go to the Fetish 69 website  Fetish 69 - Atomized [Doxa - 2003]

So Austria is not only about Tosca, Pita, Fennesz and Abigor ? Wow, shocking... Granted, Fetish 69 has not much in common with those acts. Doesn’t prevent them from being interesting...

Formed at the end of the eighties, Fetish 69 released their first album in 1993. Hailing from industrial music, they apparently underwent a serie of changes, endless musical mutations... From indus to in_your_face rock to electronics to jazzyness... I’m not familiar with their previous releases so it’s quite difficult for me to see what’s new for them on this album.

Atomized is a very well produced album (and some tracks were mixed by Mario Thaler who worked with Lali Puna and The Notwist), which is a good starting point when you play a music as rich as this. The indus roots are obvious on many tracks. From time to time you’re reminded of Nine Inch Nails or Skinny Puppy, and that just can’t be bad... Sometimes, the music also hints at Depeche Mode: a mix between Songs of Faith and Devotion (minus the gospel) and the superb dark-pop of Ultra. But reducing Fetish 69 to those (great) influences would be falling short of describing the different elements of their music. For the Austrian band does not seem to wish closing any musical door. Some tracks have more than a jazzy feeling, others are almost hiphop, if not dub...

Let’s look closer at the most interesting songs of Atomized... Omega-Tier is one hell of a great track, maybe my favourite on the whole album. Mostly because of those few ominous keyboards notes that form the main melody, the backbone of the tune. Add to this a typical indus rock groove and some nice guitar tricks, and you have yourself a nice dish ready... Cocoon is very different: it sounds like a mix between cabaret music and the sounds of Blixa Bargeld’s guitar in some of the older tracks of the Bad Seeds. Strain is the first jazz track: double bass, drums played with whips, very discreet guitar themes and a few Indian samples as well as some electronics. Very fine, my Lord! Cancer Days is dub/hiphop à la Techno Animal, only less heavy. All that sex is probably the most NIN track of the lot. Quite good but it doesn’t come close to what Reznor do. Fetish 69 are way better when doing their own weird mix... Back to the good stuff with Hyper-Real, a rather bleak soundscape, serving as an introduction to Detox. First time I heard it, the song immediatly rung a bell in my mind: the Spectre bell. Oh yes, it sounds like a slowdowned version of the very dark, very heavy, somewhat indus hiphop produced by the head of the Wordsound label. Things are even better on the chorus, mixing indus/rock/hiphop. Fetish 69 ends their album with a cover from The pop group’s We are all prostitutes. Huge beats, almost drum’n’bass. Dark and threatening music, but you’re still allowed to bounce...

Fetish 69’s leader is Christian Fuchs, the singer. Not that he really sings, he rather speak or shout with a deep voice. It works really well, even on the quieter tracks: you will never feel the need for a crooner. Much focus is put on his lyrics when you read the bio, but from someone naming Baudrillard, Houellbecq or Palahniuk, I was expecting better than what he has to offer: not bad, but nothing really good either...

Two years ago, Fetish 69 compiled an album with remixes of some of their songs by people like Pita, Spectre, Mick Harris, James Plotkin, and Tribes of Neurot. While all those acts are quite innovative, it’s not really the case with Fetish 69. However, Atomized as much more qualities than flaws: good songwriting, excellent production, very enjoyable music. What more can you ask?

This album is available in the Benelux through Aim-Distribution 

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

François Monti
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