Henk and Melle – Roodnoot

There are lots of squeaks, creaks, groans and taps which allow the listener to conjure up an image of a dirty room in a backwoods, battered, wind lashed part of Twente or Friesland.

 

 

Dutch country rock is getting itself on the map in 2011 with some fabulous records. Along with Spilt Milk with Brenda, this is the key release; created by confident and experienced musicians.

 

Ten tracks about small town living: sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes revelatory, always a very nourishing listen, and never outstaying their welcome.  Henk Koorn and Melle de Boer have the right voices for this sort of work: warm, slightly sardonic, and possessing a special ersatz Mid-Western drawl that looks to Tennessee and Deventer in equal measure. This is a true backwoods record, no overdubs, full of vignettes and cavalier playing. There’s an attitude that only has to lean across the kitchen table to the Jenever to keep things rocking: and the two of them are also obsessed by incorporating strange, muffled, “domestic” sounds and attitudes in the mix. There are lots of squeaks, creaks, groans and taps which allow the listener to conjure up an image of a dirty room in a backwoods, battered, wind lashed part of Twente or Friesland. This is further helped by the song names: Hotel, Chainsaw, Six in a Pack, Color TV…  (Henk Koorn’s band is called Hallo Venray after all).

  

There seems to be a broad consensus on the division of sonic labour: Melle de Boer normally deals with monologues (Joy, Away and Color TV are quiet odes that sounds like they’re being whispered in your ear) whereas Henk’s forte is to create robust tracks with a strong rhythmical undercarriage such as Donkey Ride and Approval. And sometimes the tracks get very loose indeed; Chainsaw is an agreeably messy knees up and Fastest Living Poet is a raggle-taggle of a track.

 

The sound of having some quiet provincial fun, and I love it.