It’s hard to know why Christo Fascists has been released as a standalone digital single – separate from a physical 7” or even as a track on a full length album. Something in me wants to contend that a song this good should have the widest distribution possible – as the standout song on a full-length album would be ideal – and while I understand that it’s entirely possible that a digital single has the capability of seeing even greater exposure in the twenty-first century (where lots of people younger than me have said that physical formats are passé), the happy dinosaur in me wants a physical document of a song. This song is a perfect capsule which contains the weirdness and horror and confusion which has come along with the last four years, and no one could have articulated it better than it has been assembled and articulated here.
I don’t mean to overstate the point but, once again, Art Bergmann and the team with whom he associates are well ahead of the curve and will have plenty of others attempting to catch up after they hear Christo Fascists.
As glowing as the above praise may be, the easiest way to phrase it is to simply say that the song is simple, straightforward and blunt criticism. From note one, Bergmann unsheathes a caustic and overdriven tone from what is presumably an at-hand Fender (assisted by Wayne Kramer to make it a dual guitar assault) which crackles to life angrily before howling in fury. The sound is, very simply, the perfect thing to answer the undeniable shit-show that has been 2020 – and the lyric sheet that the singer unloads to go with that guitar tone (set it up and just marvel at, “All Liberals reminisce/’66 was better than this/ ’68 we blew it to bits/FDS became hypocrites…,”) and punctuated with, “No justice, no peace.”
That feels like the beginning of the kind of the kind of blistering indictment of which 2020 has been in desperate shortage – and perhaps the fact that there haven’t been any others is the reason why Bergmann doesn’t really bother to pause and let listeners breathe between images.
As he continues his indictment, Bergmann notes the now historic images of police shooting people in the back and another cop with his knee on a man’s neck and discussions of people missing and murdered with impunity, set against a song that would be hailed as a great rock song in any language and in any era – but it is all background to the vocal here. It is all dark and hypnotic, and when the chorus rings through (“Christo Fascists making’ deals with Nazis/ Putting kids in cages/ Bringing on the rapture”), it is simultaneously brilliant in its substance and bellicose in its delivery, because while everyone – ALL ARTISTS – SHOULD have been chronicling these injustices and reactions to them in song in disgust for the events of this year in order get people to pay attention to it and remember, this song marks the first occasion wherein this critic can recall it coming to pass. On one hand, that I’m able to say that feels repugnant; digital recording is a decent substitute for a studio, and no one can blame being on tour for why they didn’t step up. On the other hand, credit and thanks need to go to Art Bergmann for writing, recording and releasing this song – this song needed to come out now. Thank you, sir.