BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Having blown past its 40th anniversary, veteran German avant-garde rock outfit Faust keeps on keepin’ on with Just Us. Though pared down to the duo of original members Zappi W. Diermaier and Jean-Hervé Péron, the sound isn’t stripped down so much as efficient. Though the arrangements revolve around guitar and drums, the pair isn’t above overdubbing whatever additional instrumentation is required, giving the songs depth beyond just guitar and drum improvs. There’s a level of songcraft going on at first – not that anything here sounds like pop music, but the rocker “Gerubelt,” folker “Cavaquiňho” and spoken word nonsense “Sur Le Ventre” actually have something resembling structure.
Longtime fans who think the band has gone soft shouldn’t fret, though, as there are plenty of tracks (“Nur Nous,” “Nähmaschine,” “er Kaffee Kocht”) that feature some serious dicking around on the duo’s part. Unfortunately, the farther the record falls down that particular rabbit hole, the less interesting it gets. Too much space and too little aggro makes for a dull Faust, alas, and by the end of the album attention spans may well drift toward grocery lists or navel lint. For plenty of folks, though, the fact that Faust exists and still puts out new music is enough.
DOWNLOAD: “Gerubelt,” “Sur Le Ventre,” “Cavaquiňho”