Imagine this band with an agenda, a personality. I am not asking for some 12 point plan (although it was the making of Nation of Ulysses) but something, anything other than the silent side-partings and plastic faces. Much as this element is revered by many, for me it's Kraftwerk's biggest FAIL.
The lack of traditional frontman is commendable, it makes for equal opportunities and the chance for a group to work as a unit but for that unit to hide quite literally at the back behind a wall of Stylaphones and other such electronics cries 'Chicken shit!' Admittedly they were an ugly bunch and being first post-war generation German there shyness is at least partly understandable.
But Kraftwerk are without a collective voice and for me this will always mean that despite being one of the most important groups in history they are saying absolutely nothing. Not a fucking thing. As if to echo my sentiments they have been successfully interviewed less times than the baby Jesus and when they are cornered for long enough they have refused to answer questions about anything apart from racing bikes, on occasions even using robot stand ins.
So what stops this being faceless techno bollocks? Let's take a look: One of the greatest sleeves in the history of music (I shall refrain from saying the word 'Iconic' because it's over use sends me into a red rage) and slightly less superficially we have an absolutely corking record. Yes the opening track 'Computer Weld' and 'Nummers' are almost identical and were this anybody else I might thing to ask for a ticket refund after the show but it's not it's the mighty Kraftwerk. The band have been credited with inventing everything from dance music to elecro, Hip Hop's predecessor. That's a pretty hefty resume and all the more reason that I find their silence so utterly frustrating.
So what could Kraftwerk have done to fill this personality gap? I'm not suggesting they shout 'fuck' at live performances, but it might be nice if they actually turned up for them instead of cowering back stage and playing behind a curtain, again substituted by robots. We aren't dealing with the wizard of Emerald city here, they aren't some untouchable fucking royalty as much as the act like it. I know they have their own agenda but I can't for the life remember what it is they are trying to achieve so I have to question if it's actually working.
But just imagine if Kraftwerk had ploughed their moogs through a back line of Marshalls after just one show, or if Ralf or Florian had got fucked up on drugs and thrown a TV out a hotel window. Any one of those token rock n' roll gestures would for me least launch this band into the stratosphere. All it would have taken would have been a middle finger at the audience or a gob of spittle launched at a photographer.
As it is I imagine the Kraftwerk biography is possibly the dullest read on the entire planet and despite their musical cannon, as appealing as it is they will always leave me cold in a similar way to the words 'British Jazz'.