Lola Montez – Kolaveri Di (2013)

Lola Montez (front)Wearing clean socks to a punk concert? If such a question doesn’t grab one’s attention, well, there must be something wrong with you. Nevertheless during the previous Strudelfest, people who indented to visit the showcase of Lola Montez were actually asked wear a fresh pair. So be warned, expect the unexpected. The band, named after a famous Irish dancer from the seventieth century, consists of four members: Dutchmen Floris van Bergeijk (guitar), Daan Vroon (drums), Joram Tornij (bass) and the German vocalist Ariadna Rubio Lleó. Naturally new bands play on small scale events to make a name for themselves.  Lola Montez did so since 2010 and simultaneously worked on their first full length album which they released last February. To mark this special moment, the band decided to break away from common standards and released Kolaveri Di in a former horse breeding farm in the shadow of Utrecht (The Netherlands). Next to this the albums artwork is also worth mentioning. The front and back cover is remarkably artistic and cardboard case is sewed together by hand, making each disk an unique product. Once more Lola Montez grabs one’s attention. And now that they have, it’s time to hear if they can live up to this.

After playing Kolaveri Di for the first time my span of curiosity was directly challenged. Without any doubt Lola Montez can’t be categorized as a forthright punk band. For starters, the album counts eighteen tracks, with an average playtime of two minutes per track. And as the Madras Tamil title suggest a healthy dose of rage is also to be heard. So there is nothing special about that. What is rather special is that none of the tracks resemble each other, differing in language, pace and style constantly. The music therefore swings from being bipolar and to all that lies in between. The first thing that strikes an unaware listener is the playfully interchanging of various languages by Ariadna Rubio Lleó. For instance, Haus starts off in German and debouches into something that’s sounds like reversed Cantonese .This is continues on Tak on which Lleó sharply sings, “My English is ka-ka-ka-ka-katastrophal, but my Po-Po-Po-Po-Polnisch is phänomenal.”  The multilingual aspect seems to be a core competence of  Lola Montez. Mostly they tend to toy around with German, Dutch, English and French but also frequently use their own  made-up words and sounds. A barking dog on Iao, sirens on Weeoowee, it’s all there, making the whole an enjoyable melting pot of waywardness. With noisy riffs, speedy bass play and shout-singing, songs such as Koekoekoek, Mimi and Seeräuber are examples curt punk songs.  On top of this the raw and lo-fi recording fits the punk profile, but by no means the songs fall into the category of ‘traditional punk’. Breaks are precisely chosen and quadruples are carefully avoided, thus creating a mixture of  post-punk, art-punk and noise rock. On another level the band also proves to be versatile. On Le Chat, I like Spiders and Doppelmoppel the pace is decreased. Eventually the latter does explode into hammering punk. Indeed, blood is still thinker than water.

Lola Montez meets the expectations by creating a well thought out and lively album. During some songs the links to traditional power punk are pretty obvious but during other songs those traditions are willfully ignored. In a more deeper sense Lola Montez carries punk music to a fresh level. A level on which fun, form, function and technical expertise are cross linked causing freakiness and experimentation to run rampant. Therefore I advise fans of renowned bands, such as Dirty Projectors, Deerhoof, Marnie Stern, OOIOO and The Flaming Lips to give Kolaveri Di a try. To some of you it could seem that the band wants to do everything at once. Perhaps this is also recognized by the band during the second track. In Dutch is sung, “…from what I want, I don’t get all and therefore I weep a lot.”  To me this is no shortcoming but an absolute asset. Kolaveri Di is a solid debut album that undeniably tastes like more.

Label: self-published

Tracklist:

  1. Iao (1:45)
  2. Alles wat ik wil (1:35)
  3. Koekoekoek (1:48)
  4. Doppelmoppel (2:40)
  5. Telelens (1:47)
  6. Heute Plié (4:34)
  7. Le Chat (3:18)
  8. I like Spiders (2:50)
  9. Mimi (1:33)
  10. Radiofarm (2:54)
  11. Seeräuber (0:39)
  12. Haus (2:12)
  13. Tak (1:21)
  14. We go Hugo (2:50)
  15. Weeoowee (2:00)
  16. Biomeat (4:43)
  17. Cacabeza (2:11)
  18. Yoy (3:17)

Further surfing:
Official site
Buy Kolaveri Di

Review by Wander Meulemans // VOR2303013

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