vrijdag 19 april 2024

Chrononaut Cocktailbar / Flight Of The Sloths. No Man's Valley

Quite a long title and one that made me think, what? The music repeatedly makes me think 'what' as well. In a very positive way, as I could not believe my ears because of the changing directions the music continuously takes. No Man's Valley is not in the music business it seems to play a variation on the same idea twice.

No Man's Valley is a new band on this blog, so let me introduce the band to you first. It is a Dutch band from Horst in Limburg about to release its third album, the first after the pandemic. Band members Dinand Claessens (drums), Rob Perree (bass), Christian Keijsers (guitar), Ruud van den Munckhof (keys), Jasper Hesselink (vocals) are together circa ten years and ready to take on the world judging Chrononaut Cocktailbar / Flight Of The Sloths.

Where to start? Certainly in the 1960s, from 1966 onwards. More specifically the psychedelia that started to seep into the folk and pop music made by, nearly all popular bands of the time. No Man's Valley picks elements that it likes and drops them into (slightly) more modern music, like symphonic rock and indie rock, even postpunk. Second song 'Love' attests to the mix of a Farfisa organ sound and a postpunk rhythm and guitar parts. It results in party time and loads of energy to live that party to the fullest.

Just as easily the band moves into a brooding slow song that faintly reminds me of songs like 'The End' and When The Music's Over' by The Doors. 'Creepoid Blues' is an apt title. The band sort of creeps up on me with this song, without convincing completely unfortunately. 'Seeing Things' fairs far better, as it creeps up in a far more relaxing way, surprising the more. 'Seeing Things' isn't a relaxed song at all. It just appears to be. In the meantime these two songs are far removed from the two opening ones. Everything has changed totally.

The next song is 'Shapeshifter'. This bluesy rock song changes the mood once again. The tempo is up to a moderate rock tempo. The mood is again dark but the sound is far dirtier. A warm organ, distorted guitars and vocals. It is like a giant slug coming your way to cover you in its slime, unable to escape from it. It's alright though as 'Shapeshifter' is the kind of song I wouldn't mind having to live in.

If I had to compare No Man's Valley to another Dutch band, it would be The Bullfight. Another band that is able to play with moods and darkness, while remaining attractive enough to listen to.

'Orange Juice' is another example that No Man's Valley is not afraid to strip a song to a near bare minimum for a five piece band. All play a minimum of notes, over and over. Until a Robbie Krieger inspired bluesy guitar solo comes in showering some confetti over us all.

The album ends with the second half of the albums title, 'Flight Of The Sloths'. This time an acoustic guitar opens the song, slow, in everything but a hurry. 'Flight Of The Sloths' is the most relaxed song on the album. Instead of creepy, it is dreamlike. Not necessarily a totally happy dream but certain one that brings calm. I love how the bass guitar changes the mood several minutes into the song. Be prepared though, this is by far the longest song on the album with 18.22 minutes. Expect the song to go, as 18 minutes plus songs are supposed to go. Slow build up, long solos, deep passions and relaxed interludes. If you are into long rock compositions, it is worth exploring alright. No Man's Valley knows what it is doing here and succeeds. Listening into the composition I get the impression that the band becomes more and more itself and leaves obvious influences by the way side. 'Flight Of The Sloths' is the real thing, musically and identity wise.

Wout de Natris

On Bandcamp Chrononaut Cocktailbar / Flight Of The Sloths are two separate albums. My impression is they are released as a double LP on a German label. You can have your choice of ordering it.


or download a digital version here:


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