January 10, 2015
by Richard Foster
Tonight’s opening act is Rotterdam’s NeonRainbows, but if you’re looking for NeonRainbows, you won’t find them here. Those who’ve been paying attention to the Dutch underground the last few years probably picked up on the fine debut, An Idea For A Plan. A good collection of ten noisy indie rock songs in the line of Cursive, Girls Against Boys and the like. But 2011 is far behind us, and ever since that little noise rock gem, the band has been reduced in numbers to the original core of Rene van Lien and Arnold van de Velde; leaving us with half a band and a new sonic path to walk on. Whatever the band lacks in numbers, it makes up for in both noise and adventure. Using tape decks and foot pedals as samplers, they create a wall of sound that reminds me of later period Sonic Youth work, mixed with Lofi heroes Dinner Is Ruined.
They start tonight’s set in WORM sampling the voice of Rene; with Arnold playing a Yuri Landman-built guitar to build up the song. This method forms the fundament below all songs, over which Arnold and Rene lay down a sampled beat to help work out their pointy and aggressive noise songs. A way of working that leaves no room for failure, but tonight the Rotterdam duo keep the set tight and together.
Tight as well, but in a totally different sonic universe, are tonight’s headliners. The Minor Details organised this night to present their second ep, which is given away to all paying visitors this evening. You might want to wonder why, as after two songs the band has convinced me already that I need it. The three piece (four if you’d add the unborn carried around by the bass player) kicks off with a handful of energetic indie pop tunes that nod to the nineties college rock bands such as Treepeople or American Music Club. Good ol’ fashioned poppy tunes with a rough edge and sometimes a little prog-ish in taste. This is far from a new sound, but the band keeps it fresh (ugh! argh! Did I really just write that? Oh well, you know what I mean.) and authentic (ugh! argh! Did I really just write that? Oh well, you know what I mean.).
And it is the music made in these rough edges that make this band interesting. Without those the three-piece is too sweet in my opinion, too close to “Dutch demigods” Daryll Ann. Something they make up with, through flaming guitar crescendos and more twisted dark (synth) moments. Here they escape the Daryll Ann comparison and give college rock a more adventurous twist or even step away from the whole sound. So; on this night, the strongest side of the three-piece is its eclecticism. They obviously have an ear for melody, but do not feel the need to force it into an easy and simple genre box. Which makes the night a great record presentation overall, one ending with a dramatic but intense slow ballad, proving that they know how to reduce ingredients to increase taste. All I want to do now is go home and listen to this record I just got.