Reich Orgasm: S/T LP (1984)
So, this week I’m a little nervous that my staff pick is an oi! record whose lyrics I can’t understand that has the word “reich” in the band name. However, my research indicates that everything is on the up and up. I hope someone will let me know if I’m wrong.
About the band name. It doesn’t refer to Hitler or the Third Reich, but to the second-generation psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, who was a student of Sigmund Freud (i.e. the first-generation psychoanalyst). While I’m no Reich scholar, from what I understand, he thought sexual repression was at the root of many—if not most or all—of humanity’s ills, including problems with mental and physical health, political and social repression, and a host of other problems. While “Reich Orgasm” doesn’t seem to be any kind of technical term in Reich’s work as far as I can tell, it alludes to the potential healing powers of orgasm in Reich’s philosophy. It’s a name that blurs the line between immediate physical pleasure and what we think of as a higher or more cerebral senses of good.
As for the band Reich Orgasm, they formed in 1978 in Orléans, France, but didn’t release this, their only vinyl other than compilation appearances, until 1984. While I can’t find much information about the band, their drummer was the main person behind the Chaos Productions label, which not only released this LP but also the Chaos En France compilations (on which Reich Orgasm appeared) and records from several other excellent punk / oi! groups from the French provinces such as Komintern Sect, Trotskids, and Wunderbach. From what I understand, the band broke up in 1987 due to frustration with the increasing right-wing tendencies in the French skinhead scene.
As for the music on this LP, it’s top-notch tough and melodic oi! that any fan of Rixe will love. However, while both bands are tough and catchy, Reich Orgasm’s melodies are often more delicate and songwriter-ly. While I like a tough oi! anthem as much as anyone, I’ve always been partial to the poppier moments of bands like the Business. Highlights on this LP include the great pop song “Ma Fiancée 2,” which reminds me of my favorite darker, later-era Ramones songs, and the anthemic “Juin 40,” which has this great moment that goes “un, deux, trois, quatre, OOOO!” It’s like a French Ramones count-off followed by a big Tom Warrior grunt and it’s my favorite thing in music at the moment. The record smokes all the way through, though, so dial it up on the YouTubes or streaming services and check it out.