Rooie Waas – Het Is Maar Een Constatering

The sound at times isn’t too far off Young Gods, especially the opening few tracks; though the music is more punk, more make-do-and-mend, created from sort of electronic debris found down the Kringloop.

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A brilliant record this: powerful, brooding, angry and at times ridiculously eloquent. This is a work that is out to ask you questions, but not in a rhetorical, roundabout way, oh no. Like being collared by some angry hard bloke in a pub you, the listener have to grit your teeth and bear it out. Take one for the team… The opener Zit Je Lekker in Je Vel (do you sit easy in your skin is the literal translation – aka do you feel okay?”) screams for your affirmation. You’re being blasted by a drill sergeant here, you’d better say yes even if you know the answer is no. Nadenken (Afterthoughts) lists types of thoughts that naturally spring to mind… “sadistic thoughts / fatalistic thoughts / realistic thoughts…” It’s a sort of “angry male slob” offspring of Plus Instruments’ flirtatious Bodies.

The sound at times isn’t too far off Young Gods, especially the opening few tracks; though the music is more punk, more make-do-and-mend, created from sort of electronic debris found down the Kringloop. And as such it’s more immediate. What it loses in the grand, sweeping gesture, or some cod-rock Mittel Europa mysticism, it gains in presence, and snarling aggressiveness; it delights in its “of the moment” clarity. It’s good at playing sarky games too: the way Wat Jij Wil (What You Want) sounds, it’s fair to say that you have - on the contrary – no choice in any matter.

So, menacing music indeed, especially the mid-section of the record, where the quieter pieces conjure up strange thoughts buried deep in your psyche. Rooie Dwaas sounds like a slowed down version of the Glitter beat, a lurid nightmare sound-tracked by Rock n Roll. Elke Dag sounds as menacing and as powerful and as oddly affirming as a lullaby done by Laibach. Every day is a new beginning indeed, though it doesn’t sound the sort of thing that gets you springing out of your pit at sun-up. And why does yer man keep repeating the word “meat”!? We can but guess. Last of the quiet tracks, Intermezzo, is a sort of nauseous reedy whine that can’t be over too soon. It’s intensely claustrophobic.

After this everything kicks up a notch with Rooie Waas, (Red Mist), an angry rap by Karel Anker (from punk/performance agit band Karel Anker en de Joden), that just ends up in screaming. It’s so angry that I wonder whether it’s a piss take but probably not. It’s pretty great in any case. Werk Maakt Sterk (Work Makes you Strong) is sees the band dissolve a Dutch Calvinist conceit in an acid bath of sarcasm and - of course given the title’s proximity to another, similar phrase - you can draw darker arguments into the mix. There’s a feel of D.A.F. here too, albeit a sludgy, industrial estate, small town D.A.F..

So, what else? Well, more darkly sardonic noise, that’s what. Ik Wil Meer (I Want More) is a dreadful (as in you should dread it, not think it’s bad) Goth/techno take on some carnival conga, (you’re just waiting for them to break into “ole, ole, ole, ole!”), and closer Jouw Mening, (Your Meaning), is some sort of drugged up, increasingly queasy carnival ride, strapped into a dodgem which slows down and speeds up at will, unable to get out and escape the “comedy voice intoning “your meaning?” over and over again.

Pretty breath-taking stuff.