Saturday, February 24th, 2018

BLØF ft. Geike Arnaert – Zoutelande

Zoutelande has a windmill.


Iain Mew: Graceful alt-rock is my most comfortable of comfort listening, so “Zoutelande” felt like home to me, even before finding that it’s about a grey 1800s seaside resort facing the North Sea, just like the one that I grew up in. Its mode of expression is pressingly familiar too: most of its words left unsaid, emotions below the surface but poking through with every guitar sigh and measured line. The dignity that both singers give it is immense, Geike Arnaert in particular conveying a life’s worth of experience in the smallest of gestures. They sit in their beach house and look at the clouds and don’t mind that it isn’t really that much, because it’s theirs, and quietly taking what happiness you can is worth more than they can say.

Ryo Miyauchi: The earthy rock captures a fine moment to admire, but it also plays with an underlining melancholy that such a time of peace is brief and fleeting. The singers, too, sound relieved that after all the frustration, there’s at least this little second to just sit back on.

Alfred Soto: This Dutch band plays straightforward rock with a chime in its guitars and a mid nineties attitude about forward momentum. 

Edward Okulicz: Geike Arnaert was neither the best nor most distinctive thing about her old band Hooverphonic, nicely proven by the fact that I barely recognise her voice here. Her voice does pair extremely well with Paskal Jakobsen though, and the chiming guitars give it a somewhat autumnal feel. Its movement is all polite sighs and gentle sways, and the effect is rather exquisite. Dutch isn’t the best language for rock, but this is as good as example of it working as I’ve heard.

Katherine St Asaph: There’s a dreamy soft-rock duet in here somewhere, but it’s being held down by thick, clotted vocals (what always put me off Hooverphonic, too) and indifferently thumped to death by a drum machine.

Cassy Gress: When I was a freshman in college, I was online-dating a Dutch guy who was about 10 years older than me. He was really into metal, and also BLØF and Acda en de Munnik. I had to take a voice class as part of my major, and because I was an awkward teenager who wanted to be super cool and show off my (not at all good) Dutch skills, I sang this for my end-of-semester recital. Things didn’t work out with the Dutch guy, or with the bachelor’s degree, and that’s the last I heard of BLØF between then and now. Nice to see, I guess, that sixteen years later they’re pretty much still the same band. Good for putting on in the background and vaguely hearing while you’re talking to someone more interesting.

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