Little Next Big Things

Overall it's a mixed bag, (what compilation isn't?) with one or two tracks sounding awfully similar or familiar I have to say. Still, there are four or five crackers contained in this compilation and I'd say it's worth your purchase for those alone.

Little Next Big Things - subroutine records compilation

www.subroutine.nl www.konkurrent.nl

 

Whoa what's this? A cover of DAF? Yep, Green Hornet cover Der Mussolini. DAF worship is always a good thing in Incendiary's books, and as covers go it's a spirited attempt, not too hung up on the greatness of the original I'm glad to say. A nod to Spirit in the Sky too methinks... Next we have Vox Von Braun with Lord of Pesetas, a sub-normal autistic Ramones fuzz growl that has something in common with Ultra Vivid Scene. Maybe it's the voice.

 

The Tranquis follow this moody stomp with Work, a lovely pastoral ballad that again nods to the 1980s in its unashamed Roddy Frame-isms. Worryingly the singer seems to be a sort of rogue trader with a dodgy stall on the seafront. An interesting form of subject matter it has to be said. Sukilove's Tiresome Blues is more upbeat, again a bit Postcard-y in emotional tone but has a nice Velvetsy groove to it (and a brass section too). Okay what's next? Ooofph it's time for Fuck the Writer and their contribution, Inside Out. A song which is surprisingly mellow; a beautiful acoustic paean to the pleasures of doing nothing. Aestrid's Winteroptiks 2 is a pleasant, slightly ethereal number with bags of punch topped by a very fragile but affecting female vocal. It all gets hot under the collar at the end. I like this a lot.

 

We Vs. Death are next with their number, And How To Translate It. A discordant brass section vies for our attentions with a spindly guitar run all the way through. It's all set in a minor key, a bit noodly, a bit paranoid and very Dutch I have to say... Propeller's Dilute seemingly (incredibly) borrows the same guitar from We Vs. Death, but adds vocals (the two tracks are that similar, or maybe this is evidence of a "scene" kids).

 

Following this, Feverdream's Feel This Heartbeat is a bit punchier in tone, albeit with the same minor chord distractions so beloved of Dutch bands. It starts off as yer average guitars, bass & drums and little else. The singer has a good voice though and I do like it when it speeds up into something much more interesting half way through. Shades of very early (read Three Imaginary Boys) Cure recordings, I'd say. De Nieuwe Vrolijkheid arrive to shake things up with their tempestuous I Woke Up in the Middle of a Dream; a track which can be described as a nervous, clunky but ultimately triumphant slice of angst rock in the best Chameleons/Bunnymen/Radiohead tradition.

 

This lot have something many Dutch bands don't have, a gift for melody and the guts to mess with it. Glenister are next with Pronounce Your Name (some request, that, thanks but I won't). Luckily, the song has enough vim and vigour to set toes a-tapping and yes, major chords are involved. Hallelujah! I like Glenister.

 

Vladimir's Secretly You Want To Sleep returns us to the land of mournful minor guitar notes and brass and reflective emotions. And oh beggaration, it's that cracked, emotive voice again... heard a thousand times. It's a shame because the lyrics are very well presented, with a bit more light-heartedness the band could be onto something. Awkward I implore us to Forget the Band (thanks we will), a plea I was curious to hear made "musical flesh" ever since I picked up this CD and read the liner notes. Well it fulfils its promise in the sense that it's a beautiful, pastoral hippy-ish ballad a la Donovan (the sentiments are very similar to Barrett's song Here I Go i.e. wooing girls with solo work) Good stuff!

 

Meindert Talma presents a Mick Harvey style mood piece with I Do Not Crack. I like this a lot because it uses it's twin methods of attack; (piano and voice) in a very clever way, preferring to create an atmosphere rather than having one support the other. This is an undoubted highlight. Flux's Voor de Inwoners is a strange slice of synth pop, and mercifully sung in Dutch (nowt against my own language I hope you understand, but it's nice to hear Dutch effectively and convincingly presented in Dutch alternative pop songs, a bit like the way Kraftwerk or La Dusseldorf mixed German and English up in their recordings, aw you know what I mean). Great stuff this.

 

Zeal's From Scratch is like their other recording reviewed by this organ; sparse, spacey and a bit maudlin. Still it's pleasant enough if you want to mope around. Finally El Camino gives us At Jenny Richee which is all too similar an attempt at mood rock to Zeal's for me to add anything further. Shame.

 

Overall it's a mixed bag, (what compilation isn't?) with one or two tracks sounding awfully similar or familiar I have to say. Still, there are four or five crackers contained in this compilation and I'd say it's worth your purchase for those alone.