zondag 10 december 2017

Whisper In The Dark For Me. The Bullfight

The Bullfight received a review on this blog last spring, written by Erwin Zijleman (read on here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2017/07/shame-guilt-deception-individuals.html). He wrote that with 'Shame, Guilt, Deception - Individuals Part 1' The Bullfight produced a fine record and that it was time the rest of The Netherlands found out about the band. Well, because of his review, I did, at least.

Five months after we published the review, The Bullfight returns with a new record, Whisper In The Dark For Me subtitled 'A Live Livingroom Recording'. For me this album is the introduction to The Bullfight, so there's no comparison to what came before.

In a way listening to Whisper In The Dark For Me sends me back in time. Like I'm listening to a cabaret show from the 1930s or something like that. The singer sings with a somewhat affected voice, like singers from long ago tended to do. I found it to be a hurdle that I had to pass. The voice is in front of the band, mixed smack dab in the middle. So there is no escape, no parole.

Behind him there is a lot going on. The band is playing in subtle and refined ways. The basis as with most bands is the drums and bass. In several songs their contribution is (part) absent or ever so soft. Over the drums an acoustic rhythm guitar is added. The warm organ and a violin are the two instruments catching the most attention as they are allowed to come forward most.

The band creates an atmosphere where the voice of Nick Verhoeven feels at home. Despite the obvious shortcomings it belongs there, they fit. And so slowly I came to accept the combination.

What I have a harder time describing, is what to call the music The Bullfight plays. I know what it is not. Even to compare the band to others I find myself having a hard time. Not because what I hear is totally unique, no, just that this music does not seem to fit any mould. It comes closer to the 'Lily Marlene' kind of song, without ever sounding anything like it due to the modern instruments and way of playing, than anything latter day. This isn't folk, certainly not pop, not jazz, some chanson?, perhaps, yes, it has nothing to do with rock. So you tell me. It's The Bullfight. So I start to concede this band a unique spot in the NL musical arena anyway.

Then 'The Storm Behind Our Smile' starts and I for some reason imagine Rob de Nijs singing the song. I think it would work actually. So by now you understand that I'm intrigued by Whisper In The Dark For Me. There's no discussion that this must have been a great living room show. Having organised a few myself this year and visited some others, I'm sure of it.

What the The Bullfight does well, is explode at the right moment and reign itself back in, to create a moment of great dynamics. To give the listeners a small fright and pull them in for the next subtle moment. Should they want to come and play, let's make it happen.

Whisper In The Dark For Me is one of those records that took their time convincing me to listen some more. I kept coming back and understand some more of the raving reviews the band received in the past. A pleasant, slow simmering surprise the latest album by The Bullfight is.


You can listen to 'The Ballad Of Martin Van Dongen' here:


The record is for sale here:


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