Last week I went to my favourite record shop (in London.) It’s about 15 minutes from my work, so when I go I plan my dinner break carefully around it but I’d rather buy records than food anyway. Blasting in the shop was a sound that seemed familiar but unlike anything I had heard before. It was raw, loud and beautifully obnoxious. Sometimes at 12:30pm you need to hear something that feels like a smack to the face. Become totally enamoured by it.
I went to the record shop to pick up my uncle’s present, but I ended up buying something for myself also. It happens, I guess. But if it makes Christmas shopping easier- then so be it. The band that was being blasted out in the shop was Kraut. I’d never heard their music before, but as I was listening to them I could reel off the bands in my head that resembled them in some way. Kraut were one of the first hardcore bands and are responsible, quite possibly, for a lot of bands I love and listen to.
An Adjustment To Society was the record that I picked up last week, and for a week solid I have been playing it over and over. I play it irrespective of my mood. I’ve found every single song to be a real masterpiece and each song is you guessed it, a punch to the gut. The songs are deafening and full of an enviable fury that you wish you could unleash. We live vicariously through the bands and songs we love. However, the songs on An Adjustment To Society are equally as important now as they were in 1982. From disdain and despair felt towards to those in power and the way society is, never has a band like Kraut been so vital. What they started I feel is still being lived out by others bands, but Kraut started it. They were the blueprint- and are not to be tampered with.
Only one song on An Adjustment To Society creeps up to the 3 and a half minute mark, the rest make their point in a little over 2 minutes. Their sound didn’t require the urge to go on and on. All it required was the urge to be heard, and for anyone who listened to fully take on board what these guys where saying. Their songs were a middle finger to everything around them; they made their own rules and that is worth admiring. Also, as if being one of the first hardcore bands wasn’t enough- Kraut were also the first independent band to be played on MTV. That’s right, MTV used to play music videos rather than shitty TV programmes about who got drunk and got pregnant. It used to be the home of music videos. Not really sure what the M stands for now to be honest.
Not all great music must hold a message but a fair but of it does. With Kraut, what they stood for included everyone- mainly those who were pissed off at their circumstance, and I think that is something that is so apt for most of us right now. Their music was made to be played loud and to share daily frustrations to. The frustrations can come from what you see happening around you to an underlying frustration you carry inside your head to do with yourself. None of these frustrations are petty or less significant than anybody else’s. I may be entirely late in finding out about Kraut and I’m not going to act like I am their biggest fan ever, but I know this much- I know what they stood for, I know how important they were and still are. I know the best education I received came from record shops and not textbooks.
Everyone has their own take on what makes a band great or what makes a band important to them. It can come the lyrics, the sound and all in-between. Kraut had something else. They had something about them that just made your ears prick up and listen. They didn’t tame anything in the mind or body. They fuelled the rage towards all that was happening around them, and that just makes An Adjustment To Society as essential now as it was in ’82.