Volksweerbaarheid – Van Kogels, Drank en Wrakhout

The Dutch guys of Volksweerbaarheid came only selectively into the open in the couple of years they now exist. After a live cd-r, a 10″ record on Hau Ruck! and sporadic live performances, they now return with a 7″ single. It’s released by the small Belgian label Carpe Noctem Records, who also organised a festival with Volksweerbaarheid earlier his year. The artwork is a strange mixture of old wallpaper and weird beach photos. When lucky you get some handmade inserts as well.

Van Kogels, Drank en Wrakhout contains three tracks, with Dutch lyrics as usual. Volksweerbaarheid clearly is linked to the neofolk scene, but their sound is not so easy to describe. There are certainly folk elements on the single, but also influences from chanson, cabaret, jazz and absurd literature. Their imagery and lyrics also betray an occupation with all things nostalgic, this time apparently with a maritime theme.

The first track ‘Duel’ sounds the most folky and catchy, carried by acoustic guitar and a lively rhythm section which makes you tap your feet. The vocals sound clearer than in the past, which makes it easier to follow the lyrics, which are mostly strange short tales with various funny turns. ‘Platzak’ is less melodic, it’s a sober, robust percussive piece with a central role for the almost spoken texts. ‘Dans op wrakhout’ continues in this vein with an even more desolate atmosphere, making me think a little of The Birthday Party. Suddenly it bursts out into a desperate flamenco part which sounds as if the band is being chased by sea devils.

The label compares this single with the style of Novy Svet. Well, I’m not sure if this is an obvious comparison musicwise, fact is that Volksweerbaarheid also does not care much about stylistic conventions and manage well in creating something original and entertaining. Let the barman play this single in the shabby sailors bar, where you are drinking untill the first boat leaves the island in the morning.

artist: Volksweerbaarheid
label: Carpe Noctem Records
details: 3 tracks, 2005 [CN3]