Late-night drinking at the bar: beer and schnapps were flowing, but the rumors were rather irritating: according to drummer Zimmermann and bassist Strohmeier, the new Lo Fat Orchestra record would feature a children’s choir and a string quartet. Immediately, terrifying notions of “The Wall”, concept album bombast and art rock-crap sprang into one’s mind, fondly hoping this was just an expression of the infamous “Black Forest sense of humor”.
Now “The Second Word Is Love” is released. There are no children’s choirs but choirs nonetheless and there’s a string quartet of course. All misgivings crumble in a heartbeat, once the bass-drum of the opening track “Be Honest” pounds out, the electricity rustles and sings through the air before the sawtooth-bass, Schmid’s vocals and the organ set in. All is well! All is better! All is: more!
On “The Second Word Is Love”, there are more catchy space-melodies, more beats, which also work in the Electro-Disco (“Don’t Talk To Me), more Noise, more updated Motown, more outer-space drone, more bulldozer bass riffs (“I’m So Happy I Could Cry”), more tiramisu-style layered melodies, with atmospheric noise, with shreds from the sound effect device theme park, with more melody topping and there is Gospel from the Garage and, by the way: more guitar (Guitar? Guitar!).
So, what’s happening here? For their third album, unlike both of their sublime previous records, Schmid, Strohmeier and Zimmermann decided not to record live. Instead, they lodged themselves into Markus Heinzel’s Liquid Studio in Freiburg and took some time recording. Great decision!
“The Second Word Is Love” became an instant classic. It’s packed with brute and crunchy hits that will play “Occupy brainsterm” with you, but there are sprawling, colossal songs as well: a killer record, that you will play to your kids in 20 years time (and they will jump up and down on your sofa, cheering).
The world of Lo-Fat just got bigger, more colorful and more complex. But the musical ménage a trois between the Black Forest and Schaffhausen does know that electronically amplified music is all about reduction and repetition. Nothing is flamboyant, bombast is strictly prohibited – Lo Fat is the keyword.
The title already gives a clue: “The Second Word Is Love” revolves around affairs of the heart, it’s about love – no longer coming first, but still being ubiquitous – about (self-) hatred, betrayal, loss and fragile happiness. The emotional state is unstable and the music defends itself vigorously against everything falling apart.
By the way: the song with the string quartet is called “Going With The Punks”. It’s the definite highlight of the LP. And it will break your heart.