It’s true that there is not a huge amount to look forward to at the moment and we have to take the pleasures where we can. Thank goodness for music and this is something that I and no doubt anyone who heard debut album from Dutch Band Dool, ‘Here Now, There Then’ had been awaiting patiently. Forming out of the ashes of the much missed and tragic group The Devil’s Blood along with singer Ryanne van Dorst this group of wanderers weave psychedelic magic with doom and gothic finesse blending together to make a spellbinding sound that is catchy as hell and totally infectious. Last time we heard from them was with stopgap EP helmed by a cover of Killing Joke classic ‘Love Like Blood’ and the anticipation around this release has been one that fans may well find themselves looking upon to help them get through difficult times. I’m not going to beat around the bush here but say from the off that that I have found it providing just the escape route that is needed and since giving this a first spin it has hardly been off play and is indeed everything you may well have been looking for.
The band have obviously been honing their craft and perfecting things with live gigs since the last album including the weirdest one I have ever been to which you can read about looking through are archives. What’s quickly apparent is here there is more material and a longer run time than the debut and it strikes as being a bit more mature with it. Glad to say as opener ‘Sulphur And Starlight’ gets its hooks in the catchiness will not be disputed. What an excellent track it is, you will find yourself humming and singing along in no time as it moves from introspective opening tones and lyrics to a glittering gorgeous chorus. It sparkles dripping beauty from those devilish guitars and entwines itself around you leaving you expectant for the chorus to reaffirm its beauty. There’s a couple of weird sounds almost like a baby crying amidst it and it hits peaks and moves between them and calming lullaby melody giving best of both worlds. The message “can you see there is no light shining” does however provide a certain pessimism. The music may well be upbeat but this is a dual edged sword. There are a lot of dour and sombre melodies here and you couldn’t exactly call the prose life-affirming on songs such as ‘Wolf Moon.’ However, as it gambols into life it hits hard and the chorus is excellently composed again and the instrumental breaks literally frolic deliriously around it all. Worldly tropes sees ‘The God Particle’ Taking Form with ethnic twists and turns but overall it settles as does the pace to a shimmering and sultry near sparkling belly-dance of a song, Ryanne practically spell-casting her parts. Anyone versed in pagan mythos (and indeed Fields Of The Nephilim) will be aware of the magic of ‘Summerland’. Pure balladry enters the frame, sit, chill relax and immerse yourself in this gentle number as the earth literally heals itself partly outside the window. Contemplate it all whilst listening to the nirvana of the guitar work and even a touch of piano at closure. Somewhat fragile ‘A Glass Forest’ only shatters the senses as it weaves lulling waves of harmony around you and you should also listen out for some gorgeous backing vocals as things come almost full circle to genesis courtesy of ex-Devil’s Blood sorceress Farida Lemouchi.
The gothic touch is never far away here for instance ‘The Wells Run Dry’ reminds a bit of a ‘Flowing Tears’ number and has a spoken word part from Bolzer’s Okoi Jones and then ‘Ode To The Future’ jangles in with a melody that could well have been found on First Chapter material by The Mission. Ryanne’s spoken word part at the end of this sends shivers well and truly down the spine, excellent. More rhythm is fired up by the bouncy proto-metal licks of ‘Be Your Sins’ which has single and hit written all over it and indeed that’s Per Wiberg proffering and organ flourish. From Sulphur and Starlight to ‘Dust And Shadow’ a musical box of wonder has the last track sensuously taking things out. There is a bit of hope behind it perhaps….
The box set of this has 2 extra tracks and special limited vinyl releases are going to give you choices on what format to pick this up on, be assured you will definitely want Summerland. I best put it down for now though as every listen lately sees the mark creeping up a little more.
(9/10 Pete Woods)