By Tola Ositelu
A collaborative project featuring two of my favourite artists from mainland Europe? Yes, please. Late autumn 2014 saw the release of Dutch super-sextet We’ll Make It Right’s third album ‘House’. The record is spearheaded by Benny Sings and Roos Jonker; purveyors of musical whimsy and two of the Netherlands’ finest. Recently hailed as The Best Artist You Don’t Know by the Huffington Post, for over a decade Benny has crafted gorgeous, irony-laden electro-funk ditties that just as easily break your heart as make you groove. He’s also blessed with an instantly recognisable voice; hear it once and you’d know it anywhere. That’s not to say he has what could be considered conventionally pretty vocals. Thin, very nasal and somewhat pubescent, Sings’ voice is nevertheless a thing of awkward and fragile beauty. Jonker is an ingenious multi-instrumentalist whose versatility and fearlessness culminates in an appealing unorthodoxy. If justice were served, she would garner the admiration and respect wasted on too many a pop starlet.
Roos, Benny (who also takes mixing credits) and co bring their individual eclecticism to ‘House’ in a manner that complements rather than clashes. Sometimes the result is unmistakeably Benny-fied like on the splendid ‘Who Am I?’, a signature bitter-sweet lyrics-meets-jaunty melody combo. Sometimes there’s a distinct Roos orientation such as her penchant for frenetic syncopation slapped out on a Cajon drum, as evident on ‘Let’s Go’. However the sum of all House’s all-too-brief parts is mostly something new and beguiling in its own right. Feast your ears on ‘80s synth-pop delights ‘House in France’ (what is this obsession Electronica bands have with the Hexagon?) and ska-influenced ‘Kicked An Open Door’ or catchy acoustic album-opener ‘Art’, the Gypsy Jazz-infused ‘Please, Caroline’ or folk-ballad ‘The House That Love Built’ with its The Innocence Mission-style piano flourishes.
We’ll Make It Right is yet more proof that Holland, like its Scandinavian neighbours, is a hotbed of underrated musical talent. Unfortunately geography, a US and UK commercial bias and maybe even past pop sins (2 Unlimited we can forgive but…The Vengaboys?) are to blame for many brilliant Dutch artists not getting their due. Refreshing, innovative and accomplished, the world overlooks them to its shame.
‘House’ is out now on http://doxrecords.bandcamp.com/album/house