Long story short, industrial group Laibach are best known for turning hit singles into Wagnerian stompers (Queen's "One Vision" and Opus' "Life Is Live" becoming totalitarian anthems), plus they perform stoic live shows that parody pop concerts as political rallies, which all seems like a one-note joke on the surface. Thing is, over their long career, this one-note joke has been applied in many fascinating ways, from the commentary on occupation that kicked off their career in the early '80s -- before their home of Slovenia became an independent state -- and now, on their 2014 release Spectre, they suggest a little lockstepping is needed to stir the sleeping, privileged masses. Think of the Clash's provocative "White Riot" blown up into a Rammstein album with some orchestral arrangements and extra craftsmanship thrown in and the marvels of Spectre began to unfold. In a world distracted by memes, social networking, and shiny, mobile devices, the global middle class is called to arms during the opening "The Whistleblowers," a whistle-along tune that sounds like North Korean propaganda music but offers up new heroes/leaders like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. Later, the mechanical, tight electro of "Eat Liver!" reminds all complacent, drone warfare-era listeners of World War II slogans and the valiant sacrifices they called for, then the snaky bit of synth pop dubbed "We Are Millions and Millions Are One" comes on like Laibach in bedroom mode, although vocalists Anja Rupel ("Love takes me over, like a rising rocket") and Milan Fras ("Love I am, you'll become") are playing the roles of truth seeker and truth, respectively, because reaching orgasm and reaching Anarcho-syndicalism are analogous in the group's supposedly "one-note" world. "Bossanova" ("Feed my ego with luxury") comes from the world leader's gluttonous point of view, while the slick elegance of "Koran" sounds like paradise, and yet Rupel drifts into dreamy ruminations (repeating "there are all these questions in our mind") and suddenly, Laibach have matched irony with inimitability. Heady stuff, and delivered with all the pulse and purpose as before, Spectre is both a fine album and an excellent application of Laibach's elevated style of commentary.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries