Living here as I do I find it an incredibly evocative take on both the landscape and the “binnengevoel” that life in NL engenders; it’s that bit removed, a little bit shrink-wrapped, and hermetically sealed.
So imagine, Gene Wilder singing about guinea pigs over a trippy backdrop. If you can live with that then yes, this is for you.
And there’s no holding it back, which is quite rare for Holland; Shingolai is totally at odds with the cool and measured vibe most Dutch pop bands deal in. It’s very catchy and sympathetic.
It’s safe to say that on record, Mere make music that relies on atmosphere and turns of phrase, moody extempores that sort of promise that something will crystallise very soon.
They were always a strange proposition. Gnomic is a good word for them, from the daft crab walks the singer, Vreselijk Ongeluk (Dreadful Accident), used to perform onstage, to their eye popping artwork
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.
Maybe good things really do come in small doses. And I’d wager this is still the sound of the Netherlands’ more remote backwaters.
(And did the singer say, “I sometimes eat snowballs” or “I just pruned my body”? He* can’t have. Well, he might… it’s that sort of record).
The music for all four tracks is very much in the Joep van Son mould: hoe-down roots-pop, replete with a shuffling, juddering impatient beats and an angry jangle plonked on the top.
Luckily his earnest, frail personality never allows any pompous or bombastic nonsense into the mix. Concentrated, seriously wrapped up in a world of its own and certainly interesting, this record deserves a few listens.
Like a bottle on the ocean with an old map in, this is a document from another space and time. On breaking the seal and inspecting the contents, some parts are recognisable some are mystifying and not readily understandable.
This record is aimed squarely at “Girls”, what with its whispered confidences and wine-bottle-by-the-sofa moralising.
Given there are a lot of noisy garage/screamo bands about making slightly abstract, slightly academic records, it will take something more than just leavening out the noise to make them stand out.
...the collective urge to turn these reflective, carefully constructed instrumentals and slices of ambient avant garde pop into something more hedonistic, urban, chippy and “in yer face” is fairly overwhelming.
Betraying an umbilical link to some bug eyed kids programme soundtrack from the late 60s/early 70s (yes they were like that, trust me), it’s possibly their most pop release to date and deserves your time and attention. Oh and a predictably cracking cover from artiste du jour, Viktor Hachmang; NL’s very own Barney Bubbles.
I realized then that he had shorted 220 volts of power from the microphone through his mouth, out of his hands, through his guitar to his amp and into the earth, for it was exactly this that was lacking in the electrical power system.
We couldn’t drop off our gear until half past 6 because the stage is a shooting range during the day. The venue, aptly named the Gun Club, was scattered with gun shells and the human shaped targets watch over the drummer’s back when playing.
The record is all about timing; about choosing the best moment to introduce the limited instrumentation. Thijs Kuiken’s laconic drawl is the anchor on which the sound is moored: the other key sounds that are present are stripped to the essentials.
...make no bones about it, we at Incendiary think this is a stupendous record. Tough, sassy, incredibly consistent, and possessing the kind of strength of character and wit that is all too rare nowadays.
Like a musical self-help manual, with plonky acoustic notes and glockenspiel taps Baskin’ sounds like a Broadcast 2000 pep talk. A song wrapped in child-like simplicity and words of barefaced encouragement that ‘life is yours’. Bad moods are unwelcome here...