maandag 14 september 2015

Perfection? Cd launch Bang the Drum. The Maureens with Royal Parks, Ekko 12-09-2015

There are times that things sort of seem to come together for the best. Five months ago I saw the same two acts play together for the first time. Royal Parks and The Maureens played Q-Bus, Leiden. Royal Parks modest but very self-assured and with an intimate flair that is endearing and impressive at the same time. The Maureens with loads of potential, but definitely not where the band would want to be with a new album in sight. The entourage of 20 or 30 people in the audience may not have helped either.

On Friday 11 September that new album finally saw the light of day. 'Bang the Drum' is one of the best pop rock albums in this country since Johan published '4' (and quit). On the 12th the cd was launched with a show in Ekko, Utrecht.

To put things in perspective first. 'The Maureens', the band's debut album was released in 2012. 'Bang the Drum' in 2015. A period of 3 years. In that time spam The Outsiders scored all its hits and had disappeared again from the main stage. The same for Q65. The Beatles had scored how many hitsingles and released how many album between 1962 and 1965? Times have changed, but in my opinion it arrests the development of artists in major ways that such long periods are allowed or are necessary between releases.

Entering the venue we noticed band members walking around in a fairly relaxed way. Talking with friends and family. They appeared to be ready for the show. Diederik Nomden, Royal Parks, was chatting with the sound engineer, walked to the stage in a nearly empty room, strapped on his guitar, said "Hi, I'm Diederik" and started playing. Again I was totally struck by the beauty of his voice. Within seconds he managed to draw me into his world. Following the chord progressions and the little extras he plays and the melodies of his songs. I have never heard one of his songs on record, just the live versions, but it must be good. The room slowly filled itself and with good reason.

Nomden is a kind of musician that if you pay a little attention to music in NL in general, then you find  his name pops up here and there, writing songs with of for other musicians, playing supporting roles in bands. I learned that he wrote two songs with Douwe Bob, e.g. An extremely sympathetic musician with obvious talent on display and that voice! Someone who deserves to be heard more, but also has to allow himself to be heard more. Next time bring your album, please, Diederik. I would have bought it on the spot. The request for an encore was a well deserved one. And we have news; "sources" have it that there will be a new album spring 2016.

After a rather long introduction from a poet, who was allowed to have a stage spot for once, the launch party continued with the main act. As you could have read on this blog just a few days ago, 'Bang the Drum' is a beautiful album and what became clear The Maureens in its new incarnation has made the necessary miles to grow into perfection. Perhaps it wasn't, but for the layman in the room, perfection was reached. The singing harmonies, up to four parts at times and the guitar harmonies, with the addition of a pedal steel guitar in a few songs, up to four parts as well, were played to perfection. As I asked myself again: What did the singers in The Maureens feel when they found out they could sing this well together?

One of the things that struck me most, is the modesty all members have. They are all happy to only play what the song needs. It can be just one note and step away from the song again. Leaving the room for the others to play their roles. Singing just one "aah" and make the miracle of a perfect harmony come to life.

In the past months the quality of The Maureens have been praised on this blog. After this Saturday I have no doubts left. There is not a lot better in this genre, which they call "Nedericana", but what I call pop rock. I can't remember what song the DJ played of Big Star before the show, a Chris Bell one, I heard several songs matching that quality with ease and that's a compliment. People: the band is touring this country in the coming two months. Go and see them and be convinced yourselves. This writer needs no more convincing and is a fan.

Is there nothing left to wish for? Of course there is. Dolly the sheep is more prominent on stage than ever. She has even got her own mike these days. So it's about time to come up with a song for Dolly, gentlemen.


You can listen to 'Heartbreak' here:

and buy 'Bang the Drum' at

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