donderdag 23 augustus 2018

Donna Blue. Donna Blue

With by far the most of the albums released by Snowstar Records it was love a first hearing or at a minimum a fair dose of becoming intrigued. When I heard the 7" release of the label's latest signing it was all but that. A fair dose of distaste is a better description of the feelings I underwent listening to the three songs. I had heard this all before and so much better, so why bother?

It surprised me as the ears of Cedric and his team for sure have been screwed on right. A bit to my surprise I encountered one of the songs in the July edition of 'Kairos' on Concertzender and somehow, perhaps having been brought into the mood for 'Baby' by the more esoteric choices of .No that preceded the song, things fell into place it seems. The result? A review on Donna Blue's 7" of course.

Donna Blue is Danique van Kesteren and Bart van Dalen. Partners in life and music. So far the duo released three singles now all combined on one 7" single. When I was young this was called a "Maxi Single", a vehicle for bands to combine three hits of the past and score a hit all over again. There are no hits on 'Donna Blue' in the classic sense of scoring in the charts, each song should have though.

If anything Donna Blue plays songs at the most elementary level possible. Carol Cleveland Sings is a band/duo that is on the exact the same level (read on here: Two voices, electronic sounds and rhythms, a little keyboards and a guitar. The rest is atmosphere and a huge desire for music past. Where the excitement is in, is in the way that desire is packed up in modern sounds (although this sound may come from old synthesizers). The Ronettes or The Shangri-Las are all over the place with bleeps and plops unimaginable in their day and age. The outcome, desire and hurt are exactly the same. A yearning for things missing and beyond missing: unobtainable or beyond reach, life even.

It is not just 60s I am thinking of. Female French pop singers (the sigh girls) of old and now come to mind as well. For example, the half-sisters Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon could sing each of these songs. They both can reach these sort of depths in their music.

'Baby' has written 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' all over itself, coupled to a coldness that is astonishing. No butterflies in bellies here. A clinical observation is what describes 'Baby' best. A love devoid of all emotions. Like a scalpel cutting a clean wound. A love that can make hell freeze over. Here is exactly why I had so much difficulties with the song at first and now have totally fallen for it. The song is a musical paradox between lyrics and all the rest. Hearing is believing, folks!

'Baby' may be the prize song of this single, the other two songs, 'Holiday' and 'Sunset Boulevard' are not far behind in this race. Both have a distinct feel to them, setting them apart from a lot of music I have been hearing so far in my life. Full of little hooks that sound overly familiar where I get caught in, coupled to sharp pikes driving me away, while being hooked and reeled in.

The only thing I hope for Donna Blue is that when the band plays live, people come to listen. Otherwise the band will be blown off the stage by the talkative audiences I unfortunately encounter in the country. The delicacy of this duo is enormous. Vulnerable music is an understatement. It is already broken in a certain sense. Time to check the band out during the Popronde for sure.

In the rerun Donna Blue has impressed me. Snowstar Records was right once again. It only took me about two months to realise it.


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