By Dr. Abner Mality

A style of music I’ve really become a fan of in recent years is noise rock. Not exactly metal, but loud and distorted as hell, with a different lyrical and visual approach. If you’re a fan of noise bands like Cherubs and Torche, you can’t afford to pass up this new record from Netherlands.

Netherlands have nothing to do with Holland, they hail from New York and are spearheaded by one Timo Ellis, who has worked with diverse artists like John Zorn, Diamanda Galas and The Melvins. I mentioned Torche and Cherubs above. Both those bands combine poppy, almost sweet vocals with ripping distortion and low tuned heaviness. Netherlands follows this path as well and believe me, they don’t hold back on the thickness and distortion one bit. “L.M.M.” is sludgier and gooier than the La Brea tar pits. The bass sound here is provided by synth and that makes it extra deep and syrupy. As heavy as the guitar/bass sound is, Ellis’ vocals are almost “precious” with how clear and sweet they are. This is an acquired taste for sure, but I like it myself. Occasionally he’ll let out an angry yell, but the vocals here are light and almost monotone in their delivery.

Weird lyrics are also de rigeur for these kind of bands and with song titles such as “Elephuck”, “Alien Pussy” and “New Jocks”, I’m guessing you get your fill of that as well.  Most of the songs are short in duration and some like “New Jocks” and “Dots” are very aggressive. Others like “The Bottom of the Ocean” and album ending “In Cyan” are slower and thicker. They ooze along like bottom feeders in a dirty old river. There are some wild guitar solos and even a couple of synth solos popping up in unexpected places to keep the tension high.

Other bands have kind of pioneered the sludgy “noise pop” style but Netherlands do it as well as any of them.