New Holland. They’re an odd mix of humble-bumble and self conscious disdain, they’re a pop rock party band with some of the more crass and sassy one-liners (‘call me callous call me something that you’re not/ spread your legs wide so I can get one last shot’) and they’re the band whose 2008 album became part of beached, bleached teens’ seaside summer holiday soundtrack (after Kings Of Leon, of course. We really killed that one). They’re also incredibly accessible, almost overtly so. Conclusion: besides being half-naked, nice to dance to and nubile, they’re nothing new. Né? Maybe not. Maybe my take is stale, and it’s time to spring clean it. It’s true I was there singing and dancing along to every song last summer, but I didn’t listen to it back home when the vodka wore off and reality set in.
The reality is that they’re going to be big. This was never in question, not, at least, in my mind. While I have a special affection for music that charms the masses (except that chick whose milkshake brings all the ploys to the lard), i also understand the advantages of patience. Getting big sometimes takes as much time as getting thin (if there aren’t hearts involved and you don’t have the latest eating disorder). Having more hair and less angst in their suburban brilliance, New Holland were obliged to stand in line scratching their VIP pass till aKING aggregated awesome into something a little more average and became a national commodity. Now that the Dutch courage has run out, the deed is said and sung, there’s space at the top of the pop rock playpen for more mass musical magic. Bigger. Newer. Samer. Especially if you judge their forthcoming album by their new single. Should you, though? It’s a tot rock track, yes - catchy, cool and clean, and they know it. It was a premeditated release, they mean business. There are promises that the rest of their material is magic, but not so mainstream. Perhaps we hang on to perceptions until we have proof otherwise. That’s probably wise. And whether or not the masses will negate management claims, here’s why dissenters of decent mainstream music shouldn’t be offended by whatever they bring out next:
Number one. New Holland is reliable for all the right reasons. They have an anomaly for a lead lad, recluse, autistic, artistic – choose your adjective, choose your addiction. They have catchy tracks that won’t sit back and let you settle down. Their lyrics are a buggered mix of self-involved Dear Diary entries and dark, fiery sentries at the doors of perception (you can roll your eyes and stare at the same time, basically).
Number two. They know where their strengths lie (or maybe they just don’t know any different) Despite GHD’s protests, New Holland is its vocals – soft and easy and everyday, almost androgynous, but not camp enough to get the backs of the uBoere up. And when it’s time to make a point, they’re powerful - soaring, sliding, sexy, skinny. Ja. We like. We and many many many many others. Which brings us back to our bugbear. Hold out a bit, though – third time lucky:
Number three. While there’s nothing holy about whacking out well worn pop rock formulae, there’s nothing evil about simple, single-note melodies, either. Especially if they hit you where it hurts. We forget this, that when Mattie lays the manyfingered ebony and ivory on us, we call it art rock, we swoon and Muse, and forget that he’s mostly just practising his scales at our expense (or pleasure). Simple or knotty, it’s all in the mix.
Which is what makes New Holland’s trademark tameness so wickedly workable. You know there’s more to them; somehow, you just don’t know when they’re going to grow into it. And that’s ok, because the masses have to grow into it as well. And to the mainstream conscious’s credit, most people really only have one thought and one emotion at a time. And sometimes they mix them. Which is what New Holland does to decent effect.
But they’re also unreliable for all the right reasons. Which is what makes the waiting so exciting. Take, for example, their new key treatment. According to the new synth effect, we’ve gone fast forward retro - decorative, delightful, and dated. It makes Kidofdoom look darker and more dangerous, if that’s possible. And if forefinger synth detail is growth, then New Holland has grown. But maybe more accurately, they’ve grown closer to themselves, which has integrity that no ego-esque independent act can easily criticise because whether you’re the girl next door or Joe Soap on a jol, easy will always sell.
New Holland is on their way to the top forty. You know what that means. They’re never coming back. It’s up to you whether that matters, whether they’ve got something for you to believe in. Either way, they’ve got nothing to prove.