Thursday, 14 April 2016

SVATSOX




































"Bred in the bone, out in the flesh"
Year:  1984
Country:  Netherlands
City:  Amsterdam
Label:   Villa Zuid Moet Blijven
Format:  CD , LP
Tracks:  10
Time:  40 min.
Lyrical themes:  anarchism, pacifism
Genre:  rock
Style:        Punk         Jazz





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"Ruins"
Year:  1982
Country:  Netherlands
City:  Amsterdam
Label:  Pla
Format:  LP
Tracks:  12
Time:  34 min.
Lyrical themes:  anarchism, pacifism
Genre:  rock
Style:         Punk          Jazz






































Back when I was 14-15, I was a fan of The Ex and Svatsox. As was customary back then, I had both band names emblazoned on various pieces of clothing. Ten years later, I was making music with former members of both bands. Now my musical "career" might be bereft of any form of logic (quit a hardcore band that was going places, to play in a local Joy D. cover band that was going nowhere; played guitar in a pop-punk band that was going places, only to hang up my axe and rent a saxophone because of a sudden obsession with jazz; etc. etc.), but this was one of the things that actually made sense. I liked Svatsox even more than I liked The Ex; both bands pioneered the angular, Gang Of 4-influenced "Wormerpunk" sub-genre (at one point there were about 15 bands in the village (!) of Wormer, playing the same kind of music!), but Svatsox were ever so slightly more melodic, at times even new-wavey or dare I say it, gothic (in the good, early Banshees/UK Decay sense!). Guitarist Ferry Heyne, currently de facto leader of the very successful De Kift (the band I mentioned I was in), did some great John McGeoch-meets-Andy Gill stuff on their records. On their untitled EP from 1981, "Revenge" is the most straightforward punk song (actually it reminds me a little of De Straks' "Eet U Smakelijk"!), but the guitar goes in all kinds of different directions. Of the "Wormerpunk" Oorwormer comp LP, Svatsox' 2 tracks are easily the best; "What Colour Do I Smell" is in a fast-paced 5/4 rhythm (most Wormer bands had difficulty playing 4/4!) and the ultra-short "Eternal Hunting Fields" features some weird (home-made?) electronic gizmo (that sounds like it's also used on The Ex' "The Sky Is Blue Again"). Ruins, their debut LP from late 1982, is easily their finest hour; while the songs are longer and more spun-out, sonically it's much more powerful than their earlier stuff. The bass guitar pounds away like early Big Black, the drums are doused in reverb (without having that typical shitty 80's sound), and Ferry picked up a distortion pedal somewhere along the line. Ruins was one of a bunch of great records (see also Alerta's brilliant In The Land Of A 1000 Pretty Dreams, Zowiso's 2nd-and-a-half LP The Lust, the Wandas' The Ideal) that went in a different direction from hardcore, whose practitioners semi-jokingly called these bands "softies"; ironic, since most of these softies were pretty tough dyed-in-the-wool squatter types. Svatsox kept going into the mid-80's (occasionally playing old punk covers as the Sox Pistels!), before breaking up and morphing into De Kift. Oh, did I already mention US label North East Indie just put out a Kift CD?
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"Empty covers"
Year:  1981
Country:  Netherlands
City:  Amsterdam
Label:  Wand
Format:  LP
Tracks:  8
Time:  20 min.
Lyriccal themes:  anarchism, pacifism
Genre:  rock
Style:          Punk          Jazz





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