Knalpot – Dierendag
Knalpot are a Dutch duo that have been resolutely ploughing their own furrow for what feels like decades. In that enterprise they’ve been quietly heroic, though this latest release seems to be of more a poppy character than their last – the squidgy and blurty Yes Please. They are still a very rackety band, when something can be banged or clattered, it is. We still get their trademark gobbets of noise; the beat on opener ‘Effe Zitte’ doing a fine impression of Art of Noise. When the temperature drops we start to uncover new elements to the sound, which really give Dierendag a 20-20 vision. ‘Fifteen Again’, for example, is a splendid mantra, the sticky dub pustulous and seething with unuttered thoughts. Then there is the title track, which starts almost as Ye ‘Floyd in their post-Barrett mourning phase. Until the pots and pans start up again, that is. ‘Effe Ligge’ is the key cut, the lovely sliding effects and plinky plonky key sounds lending an almost Baroque air to the piece.
What makes this a very enjoyable listen is the way the duo clearly communicate their interest in building their tracks out of sounds that excite them. Nothing feels forced or pyrotechnical for the sake of it, which is rare in this particular world. In that enterprise they sound very German; Dierendag reminds me of Cologne’s Guido Moebius or Toulouse Low Trax would do, just muck about until a solution appears out of the sonic mist. Take ‘Finally 43’ which starts as the most basic of splurt-fests before deciding what to do. It’s actually funny. In fact, I have long suspected that there is a secret organisation of lunatic blokes making bangs and thumps with wires pedals and programmes all over Europe. It’s an upgrade on Heath Robinson shed life. For instance the guitar break on the glorious cracklefest, ‘Indianerwurst’ comes on like Lithuanian skronk vendors, Sheep Got Waxed. Other bits on ‘Erwin and Mitch’ sound like Rotterdam’s Noodlebar have been sending them sonic love letters, “through pipes”. All very clandestine.
This is one of those things that could pass you by. But you shouldn’t let it as it’s a great release that grows on you the more you play it.