Having built up both their reputation and their increasing musical range over earlier releases, the members of KMFDM brought it all together on the brilliant Naïve, one of industrial/electronic body music's key albums and a great blast of entertainment from start to finish. The self-referential qualities evident from earlier songs like "More and Faster" came to the fore with the brief "Welcome," literally doing just that for new listeners, and from there KMFDM does everything from four-to-the-floor beats to Wagnerian epic metal and back again. What's especially impressive about Naïve is that for all the genre-hopping, it's all still clearly the work of one band -- but one so ridiculously good that everything they touch pretty much turns to gold. The title track is especially fantastic, a disco anthem for a generation grown up on feedback as much as acid pulse, with a catchy-as-hell lead female vocal matched by the expected distortion on En Esch's own drawl and the whole thing slamming forward without pause. As good as that it is, though, there's no question which song is the total standout -- "Liebeslied." Outrageously interpolating Carl Orff's noted vocal piece Carmina Burana into a bombastic explosion of mechanical rhythms, orchestral hits, and an increasing amount of hero guitar feedback slabs, not to mention the husked, desperate lead vocals, it's a jawdropping masterpiece that demands and gets total surrender. Regrettably, sample clearance issues meant later versions of the album had edited versions of this and other songs -- be sure to look for the original Wax Trax! (as opposed to Wax Trax!/TVT) pressings.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett