Thrust, DeWolff’s first album released on Mascot. The band is steeped in Southern influences, from the deep South of the Netherlands! Having played together for ten years the two brothers Pablo and Luka van de Poel and Robin Piso, they have created a distinctive sound. The artful melding of the influence of psychedelia, the British blues explosion of the sixties with the harder edge of modern rock n’ Roll. Their latest album recorded in their studio in Utrecht has harmonized vintage with modernity. The album tackles modern issues through lyrics that capture the here and now.
Opening with scintillating guitar playing from Pablo accompanied by Luka’s driving drum rhythms, we are plunged into Big Talk and then the vocals with lyrics that reflect the worries of many with the rise of populism. They have not looked far as they take a swipe at Geert Wilders, the Dutch far-right leader often called the ‘Dutch Trump’. Thrust, written on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, has a huge impact on the band’s approach to the album. Pablo’s vocals soar above the grinding rhythms being created this is a band with something to say and not afraid to grasp a range of issues.
With any album the opening track is important, but it is the second for me that determines if this is an album that has the staying power built in the opening track. DeWolff succeeds from the tension of Big Talk, then we move to the west of USA with California Burning. The Hammond sound from Robin burns up this high-octane track. This is not about forest fires but the loud-mouthed society of today. This is a track that excites, the live sound captured in the studio the vibrancy and energy captured in the track. The opening has been loud, fast and furious and the tonal shapes and textures perfectly honed. Is this sustained? With track three we have a change of tempo with Once In A Blue Moon. The hint is in the title as we have a slower reflective approach to this love song. The trio are delivering a song that is full of yearning. The bass tones delivered by Robin on his MOOG give a vibrant texture that reflects the drumming that is full of emotion with rolls and shuffles. The drums build the tension and then there is the lead from Robin’s Hammond gentle, delicate and determined. The vocals pick up the mood of a cleverly structured slow ballad number.
Tombstone Child has the distinctive sound of the trio shaped with Southern Rock and darker lyrics as they explore the God of Death. The lyrics are spat out with a harshness as the tonal shape of the number darkens. The drums take a raw tribal beat and the guitar moans the tension is in every chord played as the Undertaker is asked who you call for.
On Deceit & Woo, their first single, they take a look and false news, and contemporary society, politics and lack of trust. No mixed metaphors DeWolff tells it straight how it is with no PR spin. The melody is hard, the vocals feverish with a gritty edge, with rolling drums and then they throw in a curve ball the sweetest blues guitar break as they slow the number down. Shout and the Hammond builds the feverish and urgent pitch again. Wow this is music that has something relevant to say
Society has many issues and problems that destroy families and individuals. On Tragedy? Not Today, the upbeat delivery of the lyrics is counter-intuitive as they approach the issues of gambling. We go to the racetrack we see the pain, the lyrics are definitely the fourth member of this band they are gritty and shape the power of the music.
Closing out the eleven track album is Outta Step & Ill At Ease. The tonal shape changes with a country-infused rocky number. Gentler and more considered delivery. Another first for DeWolff, “I used to be really bad at when I had a strong emotion, either I was really happy or really sad to write a song about it in that moment,” Pablo says. “This is the first song I ever wrote when I was feeling super down and lonely.” They close the album with a heartfelt number full of emotion and leave you wanting to hear more of this exciting young band.
You can have the lyrics, address a range of issues but without music and melody, it just becomes a rant. DeWolff has trod the line carefully, with a loose concept but remembering to entertain and uplift the listener through the sound of rock ’n’ roll being produced.
This is not a retro band. DeWolff is a young, modern and the self-produced album Thrust will catapult them into the listening range of a wider audience. Who will murmur how have I missed this band? Catching up on the back catalogue will be a fun journey.
DeWolff – Thrust – Mascot Label Group
Release Date 4th May 2018
TENdoodle paws out of TEN …
1. Big Talk
2. California Burning
3. Once In A Blue Moon
4. Double Crossing Man
5. Tombstone Child
6. Deceit & Woo
7. Freeway Flight
8. Tragedy? Not Today
11. Outta Step & Ill At Ease