D?se: Jari Rebelein, Andr? Dietrich.
Personnel: Andr? Dietrich (vocals, guitar); Jari Rebelein (drums, background vocals).
Additional personnel: Kale Jahn, Olli Jahn (trumpet); Mo (background vocals); Mischer, Filip Lightbody.
Recording information: Gleis 5, Jena, Germany (01/2001).
It might be something in the water. The Netherlands isn't specifically known for its rock & roll but it has a history, and whatever the members of D?se have been drinking, it's not watered-down Heineken. On its debut album, the duo creates something that sounds like what would have happened in the grunge/metal part of the early '90s if Mr. Bungle had been in the role of Nirvana -- it's poppy, catchy, and somehow more than a little off. It shouldn't be assumed that Andr? Dietrich and Jari Rebelein are anywhere as frenetically off in their music as Mike Patton's crew was -- or Faith No More, for that matter -- but there's a knowing feeling to the performances on the album, where they're interested in putting on a just-tongue-in-cheek-enough show. This can mostly be heard in the vocals, alternately whispered, chanted, yelled, and otherwise delivered in a variety of theatrical ways that play against the overwhelming feeling of "authenticity" otherwise presumed to be the hallmark of groups like Helmet and Quicksand, even while the arrangements are as focused and angry as those bands could make. Songs like "Monstermann," with the nervous skeletal riffing on the vocal breaks rampaging back into a full-on roar otherwise, further play around with these ideas, enjoyably so. The downside is that the album tends to hit a formula by the fourth song in, and while it's still good to listen to from then on, a little more variety wouldn't have hurt it or the band any. ~ Ned Raggett