You may laugh when I suggest that it’s a poppy record but I really think it is; you can get into this and dance to it, it’s Iron Maiden, served up for Kafka fans.
What a record! Katadreuffe, spiky and uncompromising as ever, turn up to blast us all out of our comfort zone with this, their debut LP Malconfort; one that is released on two record labels, (the equally spiky Subroutine and Narrominded) so mighty is its psychic load. The opener, False Alarms, as well as being one of the most confident, strident openings this magazine has heard on a Dutch record in yonks, also doubles as a crisp and clinical demolition of the senses and a brilliant herald as to the rest of the record. The listener is left in no doubt about the sonic assault coming. Sure, long term followers of the band will get what they’ve previously enjoyed on the old EPs; namely the old crunching riffs that spatter themselves freely over the sonic pallet, and singer Maarten’s gnomic grumbling soliloquies are still as hard to unravel as ever. But there’s something here that makes this record essential, not just very good, as those records were.
Firstly Malconfort keeps its attitudes on a leash and grooves. And grooves hard, really hard. The beat has more of a springy nature to it now, gone are those mechanical thumps and crashes that gave their music such a forbidding, maybe off-putting edge. Choppy tracks like Out of Character and The Do-Over now manage to avoid sounding clunky and somehow able to utilise all the changes of tempo, patterns and fills in a manner I suspect they couldn’t have done before. Plus this mid-tempo lollop has appeared in their sound. Auto Parts, for instance reminds this old git of something from the Tubeway Army; that robotic, full backbeat; something that is ridiculously catchy. And just to top all of that, there’s this metallic insistence in the rhythm that stops the record being too artsy or angsty. Headbanging moments abound, and a nod should be given to A Sore Thumb and that refrain in The Juggler (which keeps the listener on tenterhooks), but the bit in the tail out of Mutatis Mutandis is superb, the ‘dreuffe dragging, far too briefly, that rocking stride of the Quo into grey, existential mathrockland. Marvellous.
Everything feels far more confident; the elements that make up their music are stripped down, revealing their supine, tough nature. Their sound has always been a bit of an assault course to negotiate, but here they’ve decided to kick away all the atmospheric props and allow the basic Katadreuffe to saunter out to bask in the sun, like some huge komodo dragon. Consequently, the old "crunching riffs" (yes them again) that the band possess are employed in a different sense here; previously they were used in creating an overall sound, and that big cavernous racket often made everything sound like an aural maths exam; scaring pretty girls and boys off. Now the riffs drive the rhythm, and just get on with pushing the melody. Maybe, just maybe, this oiled, bronzed giant is going to take over the beach, and Gilded Youth may set up shrines and pour libations.
You may laugh when I suggest that it’s a poppy record but I really think it is; you can get into this and dance to it, it’s Iron Maiden, served up for Kafka fans. Ach, enough nonsense from me, it’s an absolutely fantastic release, and one that seemingly isn’t half as difficult to comprehend as the new Gaga or Britney record (given the amount of deconstructing and quizzical press for those two LPs).
I’m going to end on a mad quote from International Times from 1970. It sort of sums this record up. It’s worth remembering in any case.
So to all those thoughtless PSEUD BASTARDS lying around I say […] GROOVE AND LET GROOVE BUT IN SO GROOVING DON’T SPOIL ANYONE ELSE’S GROOVE. And if they don’t understand that, then I hope they drown in their own PISS. Love Peace and PITY, Dave.
Yeah, Dave, yeah. But….Katradreuffe? Hippies? Well no, but maybe why not?