Subroutine have put out some remarkable records this last 18 months or so. But this is certainly one of their best. A future classic. Enervating, intelligent, multidimensional and… most of all… Good Time rock.
...it’s one of those records that drift in and out of your consciousness, providing a shimmering backdrop to your daily chores…
I’m strolling down to the Melkweg. I see a huge queue of teens clad in black and the darker shades of purple and grey… hordes of gawky teens; liberally daubed with purple lipstick and violently, aggressively shiny black hair, wearing trousers that are wider than a turnoffon the A4. Eh? Where are the Subbacultcha butterflies?
Because it’s a real growler this one, the opening track Believer instigates a headlong charge into bozo territory – where the rest of the album happily gambols about like a herd of bullocks let into a new spring pasture.
And yes, the single is a blast, ballsy too; when did you ever hear a pair of songs so unconcerned by what’s in fashion or so wrapped up in themselves? Nothing wrong with that m’lud.
It’s ridiculous, I’m 43 and this sort of music is for nice girls who keep diaries, not me. But I want more. Now.
It seems this new Herrek are interested in setting up their tracks as morose mixes of downbeat soliloquy and tough social commentary.
Ostensibly -this is still music for clubs, or maybe music for people who would like to go to clubs but don’t anymore.
Invariably the music is of the highest quality, if focussed pretty heavily on things that could be herded up into the ambient / post-post-industrial / white noise / alt-jazz bracket.
You get the feeling that this is a band that feels the need to hide their light behind a bushel now and again. Despite their incredible power.
This record is everything and nothing. Just like the band. They’re just a bunch of people from Groningen. No more than that, and they’re not looking for your approval.
Simple stuff it may be, but sometimes adding just a little bit extra significantly increases the value of the whole.
So old and new, continuity and change, standstill and motion. Minny Pops are still the same intriguing bag of contradictions. They play their last live gig at the Quietus / Lexington bash in London on 26th November. Don’t miss it.
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.