Kreisky’s “Atlantis”: guitar rock of forgiveness


We know them as an angry, energetic rock band. With the sixth studio album “Atlantis”, however, the Viennese band Kreisky is looking for the path to mutual understanding and reconciliation and is more open to experimentation and electronics.

By Andreas Gstettner-Brugger

When you think of the angry rockers Kreisky, the first thing that comes to mind is a song like “Shit, Actor” with its distinctive refrain.  The  band from Vienna around singer and lyricist Franz Adrian Wenzl, who also likes to be at work as Austrofred in the local scene, let the angry citizen speak through their characters, but also focused on the pointedly formulated everyday observations.

On “ADHD”, the first single on “Atlantis”, Kreisky’s sixth studio album, anger still seems to be the driving force behind the well-oiled rock machine. But if you take a step back and look at the image of the neighboring dispute conjured up by Franz Adrian Wenzl, the text rather shows the reasons for the conflict and thereby enables change, if not compassion and reconciliation. But how did it come to this for the eternal Grantler Kreisky?


 The  change of the angry citizen

When Kreisky founded 15 years ago, there was a clear concept. Franz Adrian Wenzl wanted to differentiate himself from the “rubbish level of the Hamburg school”, as he calls it, which with their soulful, scruffy and often soft songs put his feet to sleep after just a few minutes. “We wanted to make a jagged rock band, with suits, sharp forward, with sharp guitars. That has had a major impact on our sound image, ”said Franz Adrian Wenzel in an interview.

Since Wenzel always wrote his lyrics in response to the music, it was very fitting that his screaming singing – which was initially due to the noisy rehearsal room situation – became the mouthpiece of the angry citizens. Or also that anger that is directed against those people who, stubborn and petty, make the lives of their fellow men hell.

But the influence of world events does not stop at the band Kreisky. What worked quite well a few years ago is no longer a point of contact today, as Franz Adrian Wenzel explains:

Kreisky album cover too "Atlantis"

Kreisky / living room recrods


 The  new Kreisky album “Atlantis” should be released in August. Due to the pandemic, it will now be released on January 22, 2021 on Living Room Records. Incidentally, exactly on the day 110 years ago, the band’s namesake, Bruno Kreisky, was born in Vienna.

“Back then I observed people for my text ideas and saw what they were angry about. And those were mostly trivialities. It was a great narrative that someone gets upset, which is not so important. However, the topic of anger has changed in recent years. ©

 The  angry citizen is no longer the one who lifts his stick against the pigeons or gets upset at the supermarket checkout. Today it is people who take to the streets by the thousands and whose anger has become President of the United States, among other things. That means that this main narrative was no longer available to me. “

In addition, the sound has changed over the past few years with the new bassist Helmuth “Lelo” Brossmann, whom we know from the band “Destroyed But Not Defeated”. ©

 The  strict concept has been softened more and more. People have opened up to other sounds and instruments: synthesizers, organ sounds and the joy of experimentation have found their way into “Atlantis” more than ever. In addition, the recording process was different this time, as drummer Klaus Mitter explains:

“We used to write the songs with the stage and the live implementation in mind. ©

 The n we saw how we could get this rumbling live sound into the studio. This time we wanted to do it differently. After the predecessor ‘Blitz’, which was written directly during the recording in the studio, this time we arranged and worked out the songs more in advance. “

You can hear that immediately in a song like the single “Kilometerweit Weizen”, a funny and clever number that plays with the impression of a hit in the chorus. ©

 The  major chords really seem to have prevailed here. And right from the start, Kreisky surprised us with a guitar that sounds like a broken saxophone. So much for the mature rockers’ willingness to experiment. Fittingly, Franz Adrian Wenzel has built up the text as a multi-layered reflection on pop culture savvy, cosmopolitan people who sense dangers in rural areas and whose fears reflect their own prejudices in dream sequences.


 The  expedition group to the 15-year-old idealist

In “Kilometerweit Weizen”, as in most of the songs on the new album, Franz Adrian Wenzl’s lyrics are not an accusation. ©

 The y are compassionate observations that try to show where our often problematic togetherness comes from. It is the inner impossibility of reaching out to other people. Because we usually scan our counterpart immediately and assess them.

Band photo Kreisky in four-image passport photo format

Ingo Pertramer


 The  album title shows that this attitude and action has grown. Because “Atlantis” is the search for the lost ideals that we all had in our youth. “For me, this album is a plea to approach each other, to rediscover openness. It is a research work within you. ©

 The  expedition group that visits the fifteen-year-old and looks at how it looked inside him and why he was so positive about everything ”, says Franz Adrian Wenzel.

Research into the past is also musically accompanied by more or less lost preferences. Franz Adrian Wenzel remembers a conversation with bassist Lelo about making a record that is reminiscent of their heroes Electric Light Orchestra. “Atlantis” did not become a tribute to the British rockers of the 1970s, but there are some traces of lost music lovers in the songs.


 The re are already particles in the direction of classic rock. ©

 The re’s a bit of a Supertramp piano or an Emerson, Lake & Palmer synthesizer. ©

 The se are things that lie dormant in us and are now allowed to go out. “(Franz Adrian Wenzel)

For example, Kreisky indulge in Krautrock in the almost six and a half minute piece “Meine Tunge ist leer”, while the text speaks of the lack of language and the helplessness that often comes with it. ©

 The  almost happily bouncing keyboard of “Lonely Planet” could have sprung from the Neue Deutsche Welle, if the guitars weren’t rushing over it and a synth and guitar solo let us drift back into the realm of space rock.

But memories of youth can also be triggered on another level. ©

 The  song “Downhill Slalom Super-G”, for example, is a masterful and funny piece about a person lying in isolation in the hospital who watches skiing on TV and realizes that these athletes are also isolated in their tight training and competition schedule . Drummer Klaus Mitter immediately thinks of his childhood when the “ambient sound” of a running ski broadcast at home during lunch gave him a secure and comfortable feeling. With this song the fun of the synthesized sound can be heard again. A rasping, guitar-triggered melody mixes perfectly with one of the strongest images on the album, in which Marcel Hirscher is doused with milk to keep it soft and white.

Sacred self-empowerment

With “Atlantis” Kreisky has succeeded in creating a very varied and refreshing album. It no longer bites itself into anger, the grumpy opposition. Despite the energetic tones that Kreisky have perfected over the last decade and a half, it appears milder and softer. ©

 The  search for the lost youth idealism seems to have brought joy more to the fore. Franz Adrian Wenzel and Klaus Mitter also see that “Atlantis” has become the most positive and perhaps the most forgiving album. However, with the addition that you start with the band Kreisky from a very low level of positivity.

And yet: ©

 The  closing song of the record “Wenn ein says” is a sacred hymn to one’s own being. ©

 The  big and broad organ chords right at the beginning lift you up like a piece of liturgy. So it says in the text:

“When someone says
What you doing there
has no sense
Say: It makes sense
And if someone says
What you doing there
is the last shit
Say: it’s my dirt “
(Excerpt from the song “When someone says” by Kreisky)

Franz Adrian Wenzel comments: “It’s our self-empowerment song, our ‘I Am What I Am’, if you will. I watch the Eurovision Song Contest every year and have noticed that there have been a lot of self-empowerment numbers in recent years. In those it says, be who you are, you can be who you are and show yourself to the world as you are. And ‘if someone says’ is our contribution to it. ”

It is unlikely that this is a hidden indication that Kreisky could represent us at the song contest this year. Because despite all the positivity there is still too much rough edges, anger and rebellion, but above all profundity and wit in Kreisky’s songs. And that’s why we still love this band after 15 years. With “Atlantis” maybe even a little more than before.

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Kreiskys Atlantis guitar rock forgiveness


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