dinsdag 28 maart 2017

Fade To Gold. Trip To Dover

Trip To Dover sounds like the memory of a childhood trip, although Dover for me sounds more like the beginning and the ending of a U.K. holiday. Driving that winding road through the town up from the harbour. Up to what effectively are the famous white cliffs before riding into the Kent countryside.

This Trip To Dover is a Dutch duo from Eindhoven. Olga (vocals, guitars) and Johannes Taal (keys, sounds and vocals) mix rock, dance, electro and things 80s. Since 2013 they release songs under the name Trip To Dover. Two EPs and two singles. With Fade To Gold Trip To Dover has released its first (mini) album.

The first thing I'm reminded of the the single of Glaswegian singer Dee (Miller) that her brother and label owner Thomas sent me a while back. 'Love Massacre' has a lot of the atmosphere I find on this album. From there Trip To Dover builds its music bigger and wider. Even when it's just the guitar, with a load of effects on it, opening 'I'll Be Juliet', the sound is loud and spacious. Yes, that is before the beats and synths enter the song. Already it seems to fill the whole mix and my room. This may be a duo only, soundwise it could be a battery of drums playing all at the same time.

Promo photo: Marcel Krijgsman
The music on Fade To Gold for me goes right back to a pioneer in electronic pop songs like Gary Newman. With his band Tubeway Army he scored a hit called 'Are Friends Electric?' in 1979. To me that was a starting point, from which all things electronic pop music departed. Depeche Mode, Visage, Duran Duran and things with beats from the U.S. later in the 80s that I do not like, which find their origins more in Giorgio Moroder's work with Donna Summer. 'I Feel Love' mixed with 'Personal Jesus' is found here in the form of the title song.

Here we hit on one of the strengths of Trip To Dover. To write an electronic ballad that totally explodes in a dance frenzy, before coming back to the strong vocal melody. Olga Taal could have sung in a rock band, in a punk band and in a pop band doing ballads, next to this rock dance beast. Her voice is so strong and so versatile. (I would work on the 'th' sound though, that would make it sound 100%!)

Photo: Frank Bouwkamp
Dance is not my kind music, really. Yet, I find myself caught by the energy streaming out of Fade To Gold. Like I wrote recently on this blog about the new album of My Baby, this music is exciting. Wild with an animal magnetism. The way Trip To Dover builds up its songs make it easy to succumb. Live this ought to be one big party of holding back and releasing the audience. I can imagine myself dancing a lot of the time with the music presented here.

That is only half of the story though. I find myself enjoying listening to Fade To Gold at home as well. The sound is so wide, it fills the whole room at the right loudness. There's a lot to discover in the songs. So many sounds, beats, effects to follow. On top of it all is that fantastic rock voice in all its guises ranging from sweet angel to fiery devil.

Photo: Sharik Derksen
What happens when all the electronics are discarded can be heard in the sort of bonus track of the 2016 single 'Boy'. Just an acoustic guitar, a piano and voices. It's no surprise to me that "a real" song comes forward. A song that could have been sung by Anouk and has the same quality as that singer's best songs.

Fade to Gold is an album that aims for the sky. It is as big as an independent band can pump itself up without losing credibility. It rocks hard, the beats are loud, the effects all in the right place. What is not lost in the storm is the song, the melody. Combined with the use of dynamics and a lot of atmospherics, Fade To Gold seems to push all the right buttons with me.


You can listen to 'I'll Be Juliet' here:


or buy the album here:


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