Saturday, 23 June 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #235 - Moss, "Ornaments"

A Dutch band whose LP I picked up at the fantastische plaatenwinkel (if that's the word) King King Records here in Ljouwert/Leeuwarden in Fryslan/Friesland. I picked it up as the band were Dutch (I reasoned) and it was recorded in Amsterdam. I spoke to Nico who runs the shop and he said that punk and metal were big in Ljouwert, but not "dowz rekowrds", gesturing to the hip hop and "neo-kraut" records that I was buying and which were in gorgeous abundance despite not being the most popular genres. I wasn't quite in the mood for punk/metal though.

This isn't punk/metal either. It's very straight indie; not in the landfill sense, but thankfully being put together outside the orbit of the cultural rhododendron bush that is Oasis and their ilks. There's a hint of a Dutch accent, curling up the corners of some of the words like day-old sandwiches, and musically quite a heavy American accent, like Yeasayers or that kind of wandering, heart-warming music: medicines, magic and love feature heavily in the music.

"Spellbound" is a punchy, little skittery number, possibly about a neighbourhood crush. "Love is a wonderful thing" isn't going to smash open many lyrical piggy-banks, but the music is suitably soft and thoughtful to underline the point they're wanting to make. And I like the nuggety bass pulse. "I'm a modest man/Giving all I can", he sings on "Give Love to the Ones You Love"; so this may be exactly the same kind of jazz I called bullshit on with The Shins earlier in the year; but I cannot claim to be consistent. If they're the Dutch Snow Patrol, I give myself permission to fuck myself up laters on at some unspecified date.

"The Hunter" has some New Wave hustle, directed again at another potential paramour - "Remember those love songs when we harvest and re-seed," I think he sings. I don't think I remember those; but the contrast is with a hunterly obsessiveness. There's certainly some softshoe stalking going on. And there's yodelling. There's a poke in the area that my auld muckers Polytechnic used to roam on "What You Want", guitars and bass in very clean lines, woven together jubilantly.

"I'm in the darkness of my mind/Where nothing seems to grow." I like the intellectual discomfort of this tune, "Good People". "What if I envy you?/.../What am I supposed to do?" he miserates. It's a novel position for me to hear someone write from/about; but then I never really pay very close attention. Half the songs around me could be about that, and I wouldn't know. "Ornament" sounds quite heavy, way too heavy for a Christmas tree branch, perhaps a coffee table conversation piece.

Rating: Heart Warming out of Darkness Of The Mind

No comments: