Drunken Werewolf Coverage : Introducing Hollands

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Introducing Hollands :

Drunken Werewolf.com

by Tiffany Daniels

January 5th, 2014


Music is in this duo’s blood. Comprising John-Paul Norpoth, the son of a classical flautist, and his wife Jannina Norpoth, the daughter of Detroit’s jazz guitarist Spencer Barefield – the more traditional musical leanings of their parents barely hint at the melodic pop goodness of Hollands. Based in New York, the band’s debut album Restless Youth was quietly released at the end of last year, but it’s never too late to catch up with an act that quotes influences as diverse as Arcade Fireand Bob Dylan.

In truth, Hollands draw better comparison to fellow indie-poppers TennisThe Flaming Lips at their most accessible, or even the West Coast fuzz of Port O’Brien. There’s also a timeless quality to lead track “Great White Shark” that suggests a thirst for songwriting perfection that will eventually lead to underground and cult dominance. Hollands make the kind of music you can play and play again until your heart’s content or your speakers wear thin, whichever happens first.

Despite being relatively unknown on the UK scene, Hollands have at least kicked up a fuss on the other side of the Atlantic – with decent press from Earmilk, All Music and Relix Magazine all under their belt. Restless Youth was released on 11th November 2014 through the band’s own label.

"This is Fun and it Should Be..." - Fingertipsmusic.com review "Great White Shark"

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With confident cockeyed momentum, “Great White Shark” is a fun-house blend of thoughtful art pop and something bashier and more direct. A dignified violin break collides with a chugging, minimal rhythm section; articulate guitar lines locate clearings between earnest chunks of elusive lyrics; a basic verse melody repeats, with reappearing variations, while something resembling a chorus slips in once or twice; the song, while pushing five minutes, passes in something of a fever dream. Welcome to what has become of rock’n’roll in the mid-’10s, devolving and evolving simultaneously into whatever two people in Brooklyn (it’s almost always two people in Brooklyn) feeling like recording. Even when it isn’t quite like anything else you’ve heard it always manages to be at least a little like something else you’ve heard. This is fun and as it should be.

Anyway, I have listened to this song like a thousand times and I am left with two conflicting impressions: 1) its various complexities (in structure, nuance, texture, rhyme) continue to elude me; 2) its sturdy simplicity is grounded in the relentless recurrence of a basic three-note, ascending melody. And I am guessing that if I can train my brain to hold these two antithetical notions simultaneously, I may achieve some new level of enlightenment. Or, at least, would be better able to explicate a song named “Great White Shark” only, it seems, because the phrase slides quickly by in a lyric two-thirds of the way through the song.

Hollands is the married couple of John-Paul and Jannina Norpoth. John-Paul is the multi-instrumentalist, Jannina, classically trained, plays violin. Both are children of professional musicians. Among their favorite artists, according to the band’s Facebook page, are Igor Stravinsky, Frank Zappa, and Randy Newman—a mighty trio if ever there was. “Great White Shark” is a song from Restless Youth, their full-length debut, which was released last month. You can listen to the whole thing and buy it (vinyl is an option!) via Bandcamp. MP3 courtesy of Magnet Magazine.