Review Summary: "[Other bands] don’t work with the power you get from a synthesizer…" AKA Fucking And Punching - The Album.
Issues of political repression, community and identity have long shaped punk music. So much so that it seems a given in the four-power-chords-and-the-truth genre that guitar driven punk has been for so long. But it is not unique to the genre and it’s a background of fascist repression and bisexuality that would shape the band Deutsche-Amerikanische Freundschaft and through it, definitively influence the sound of electronic music to come.
It is odd at first to juxtapose the immense legacy of DAF with the bare-bones ferocious electropunk sound that characterised them. While the approach of the band was strongly shaped by singer Gabi Delgado’s background as an immigrant to Germany from Franco’s Spain and his frank approach to sexuality, the music is utterly in-your-face. Pulsating synthlines, combined with Robert Görl’s decidedly punk drumwork, combine into a clear and extremely driven sound born from a strong vision to create physical music - that is, a sound that you listen to (and dance) with your body. It’s no wonder that the immediate comparison at the time was to call DAF a sexier, danceable Suicide.
A clear vision doesn’t mean Alles Ist Gut is one-dimensional as an album, however. The tracks vary wildly - from the manic, paranoid energy of Mein Herz Macht Bum to the sexual brutality of Sato Sato, from the pulsating apocalypse in Alle Gegen Alle to the melodrama of Als Wär Das Läzte Mal, pinned by the breathtakingly ferocious breakout hit Das Mussolini, it is a cornucopia of future electronic music genres to come. Despite the occasional moments where the album lets up a bit, DAF would come to be considered the right Daddy of EBM, with all the oozing, domineering sexuality that title brings with it.
Their legacy can be seen everywhere in electronic music. The list of artists that have covered tracks off this album would make your jaw drop - Laibach, KMFDM, VNV Nation; Giorgio Moroder, Coroner have all at one point dabbled in trying to replicate the emotion and power this album feeds down the listener’s spine. There is a complete cottage industry on Youtube of bedroom synth players trying to nail the sound of the DAF synth (famously played into a guitar amp and then recorded via mic). It even transcends the musical - the sweaty, masculinely sexual image would filter through the more obvious influences (Nitzer Ebb) to ones that don’t seem obvious at first (Rammstein). While the band would not last long, it is a legacy that Gabi, who passed away in 2020, could surely be proud of. As a love child from that perfect storm of repression and technology, of sexuality and honesty, it is yet to be beaten in the world of electronic music.