Volksweerbaarheid – Groeven in zwart vinyl

After a self-released live cd-r and some performances Volksweerbaarheid from Nijmegen has managed to interest Albin Julius to release their official debut on his Hau Ruck! album. ‘Groeven in zwart vinyl’ contains eight tracks and is interesting already from a visual side, with the nostalgic photo collage on the insert sheets and postcards, which are nostalgic looking and certainly not devoid of humour. I think Hau Ruck! is a fitting label for Volksweerbaarheid, not only musicwise (they make a mixture of acoustic folk, heavy percussion and industrial), but also because they play with conventions and dare to surprise, something which some other acts on the label love to do as well.

Most of the tracks I know already from the aforementioned live recording. There are even two live tracks present, ‘Volksweerbaarheid’ and ‘Geen defaitisme’. The record starts with ‘Voorwaar, voorwaarts’, a song with acoustic guitars and restained drums and percussion. The Dutch lyrics are illustrative for Volksweerbaarheid, old-fashioned language and texts displaying a hope that the ‘new man’ will create a more wide-spread civilisation, typical for the first hal fof the previous century. ‘Geen bastions maar bataljons’ is a slow, monotonous track, mainly consisting of a noisy groundtone, bare drums and spoken military lyrics (‘if you don’t interfere with war, war will interfere with you’). Perhaps it would have been more suited at the end of the record, now you have the risk that listeners will loose their attention.

But then comes ‘Uw wet is mijn wil’, my personal favourite piece of the record. Though it resembles the Of the Wand and the Moon recipe very closely, including the whispered vocals in the refrain, it is a very convincing piece, a passionate folky song, nicely built up with slower and more percussive parts alternated. ‘Volksweerbaarheid’ is all about loud drumming and shouting, no place for subtleties here. It’s loud and distorted. De stormram door de mindere moraal – Allen weerbaar!

The B-side starts with ‘Imperator Futurismo Uno’, a track which I find somewhat difficult to judge. It does not have a clear style, in its mood it makes me think of some Italian lofi acts, it even has a bit of a jazzy feel. ‘Een Duits dienstmeisje’ is another favourite. A speech by queen Wilhelmina starts a song lead by acoustic guitars, making me think of Darkwood’s ‘Conquer we shall’ . As the song evolves it has some strong percussive parts and vocals ranging between whispering and shouting. ‘Verschroeide aarde’ (‘Scorched earth’) has a clear militant feel and sound, a cool marching piece. ‘Geen defaitisme’ is another live piece, one of the better Volksweerbaarheid tracks, calling for courage to defend our fatherland. At least it makes you tap your feet.

A highly varied and entertaining record. Only the production could have been a little more powerful and clear, the vocals sound at times too shy, deep in the mix, and the overall sound is a bit too dim. But there are enough original ideas present and the songmaterial is very good, so this record by Volksweerbaarheid is certainly enjoyable.

artist: Volksweerbaarheid
label: Hau Ruck!
details: 10', 8 tracks [HR!60]