Their ultimate gift to us is their ability to make music that pulls away at the odd loose thread in the settled pattern of Dutch life. You won't really notice it at first listen but they do.
This is the sound of the Netherlands I half-love despite my intermittent (self-loathing) raging against it; attractive and nice, decent to the core, open with its emotions, not afraid to playfully throw back all the bluster in a poppy, fun, and ultimately practical manner.
The Joy of Pop reveals itself to be an absolute gem; immediately putting your weirdometer at ease; mixing Pop Group against chamber folk, (or chamber punk) with a dash of Kid Strange and early Cure for good measure.
Songs like Nieuw Paaslied (New Song for Easter) or Droomgezicht come on like Lou Reed reciting his shopping list in the room next to you.
No longer difficult, or cussed, or looking to smash down walls, Space Siren have decided to dwell in a time of their own. And it really suits them.
In any case Dirk Polak could sing over the top of an insurance advert and make it sound as if he was discussing Camus with his mates in the pub.
Nikoo have started to slowly inject their sound with a tougher set of sonic additives.
WOLVON are one of the most urgent and exciting things to come out of Holland in ages; if only for their upbeat “Kosmische” attitude and refusal to get caught up in the life-sapping balls of their surroundings.
Maybe the Henk and Melle record from a few years back gave Henk Koorn a new sense of what could be utilised in Hallo Venray. Maybe he’s just decided to show his softer side.
It’s rather that their sound is one that strips away a lot of what most people use to create pop songs. They aren’t really looking to communicate on an immediate level.
I wonder if ITGWO is about that bakfietsmoeder/woolly jumper /perfect teeth/artisan bread festival on a Dutch island? Hmmm.
I’d wager this record (if the tooth whitened media-savvy robots and tablet botherers that constitute the Palace Guard at Bastille Hilversum give it the RIGHT AMOUNT OF EXPOSURE) could be the soundtrack of the summer in Holland.
I am reminded of the (surely) apocryphal story that Terry Thomas told about a pie manufacturer in the Midlands, who, on being asked about the secret of his factory’s productivity, replied: “oh I don’t do anything difficult old boy. I just lean out of the window and shout, “Faster you fuckers!”
Just by picking up phrases that float around Holland like confetti and throwing them back at the populace, Rooie Waas flit about, acting like court jesters to the oceans of unsmiling commuters on the Rotterdam – Amsterdam trains; and whisper the most banal thoughts back at people.
On another level, it’s a brilliant release, playing around with all the sounds that you’re not supposed to like; throwing Gabriel, Hammill, Yes, and a whole host of other things about with abandon.
In De DJ is Een Mietje the vox can sound like “the deejay is a meathead” even though it MEANS the deejay is a softypants. And on X-Static Tics’ Diejay Hardway Replay the deejay is accused of having a “complex”. Well I never.
This promo is like a (doubtless unintentional) Dutch take on those Godspunk compilations from Pumf records in Blackpool (unintentional because I would run naked through the streets of Leiden if anyone says they have all the Pumf compilations in NL)
This LP should live in the real world of first dates and being sick after a party, and doing your smalls at the laundry, not looking to play out a role as the example of some Simmel-style deconstruction about musical spatiality and society.
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.
And many quiet souls will love main man Olof Caarls for casting himself as the carefree and sometimes melancholy gallivant; a young chap who is happy to play to the gallery using any populist trick.