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It Dockumer Lokaeltsje
Alles Is Goed Richard Foster , February 26th, 2020 09:29

Dutch noise band It Dockumer Lokaeltsje play covers of DAF in Frisian with abrasive results, finds Richard Foster

Whatever next? A Frisian noise trio covering Neue Deutsche Welle heroes DAF, in Frisian? Believe. It Dockumer Lokaeltsje are considered legends amongst the rock tribes of the northern Netherlands. These noiseniks were hailed as a blast of fresh air back in the late eighties, dishing out a right and proper kick to a slightly weary Dutch alternative scene. Back gigging after a long hiatus around 2015, they also returned to the studio, unleashing 2017’s steamroller, Tonger. Never wallflowers, as the name of their first LP, 1987’s Wil Met U Neuken, suggests, It Dockumer Lokaeltsje have a gargantuan appetite for life and all its attendant pleasures. I have seen them demolish backstage riders with a resolve akin to that of the Goths, baying at the gates of Rome. Some of their number have watched me deejay deserted festival fields in the dank aftermath of a downpour, waving and beaming at me, as if nothing but watching me, alone in a field, could be better in life, and adding considerably to my own sense of shame. They are, without a doubt, lads whose glasses are half full.

This sense of lordly enjoyment with most things transfers to their new LP, Alles Is Goed in which a tangible love of DAF shines through, from the first to last thump. Even if very few of the band’s interpretations sound remotely like DAF. The Fall, I Ludicrous, Stump, Ceramic Hobs, yes, and It Dockumer Lokaeltsje certainly; but not the work of Delgado-Lopez and Görl.

It’s as if It Dockumer Lokaeltsje have opened their lungs and absorbed the very essence of Friesland’s rolling, open pastures; bringing the smell of grass, dung and mud to bear on the Düsseldorf act’s greatest cuts. Opener ‘Sato Sato’ is gloriously ungainly, gallumping about like a cow let out into the spring meadow. The softly spoken Frisian lyrics also, somehow, lend an attractively camp element to proceedings too. DAF’s biggest hit, 1981’s ‘Der Mussolini’, is reassembled and presented in such a surreal manner, it could be a lost Alexei Sayle sketch. Amongst all the merry making, we hear a Fall-like riff (‘Cruiser’s Creek’ anyone?) that is sometimes offset by a chorus of skanking Frisian harpies. It’s a funny and unsettling combination. And what on earth are the band thinking of when they sing about Lamborghinis?

It doesn’t stop there. After the discombobulating experience of ‘Der Mussolini’, it’s time for ‘Reade Lippen’ (‘Rote Lippen’) to be reworked within an inch of its life, courtesy of some ACDC-esque riffage that sets up yet more Frisian poutings and strange stops and starts. One hardly has time to catch breath before we are confronted by ‘Myn Hert Dat Slacht’ (‘Mein Herz Macht Bum’) which is an uneasy stand off between Skids-style charges and Nomeansno bass blurts.

Those desirous of hearing something, anything, of DAF’s core spirit may be assuaged by ‘De Rôver en de Prins’ (‘Der Räuber Und der Prinz’) which sticks fairly closely to the original script, albeit drawing on the powers of Alternative Guitar Rock. The same can be said of the brisk reworking, ‘As Wie’t De Lêtste Kear’ (Als Wär’s Das Letzte Mal’); a great wig-out full of It Dockumer Lokaeltsje’s trademark brio. ‘Kopke Derby’ (‘Verlier Nicht Den Kopf’) boasts a smidgen of Gaby Delgado-Lopez’s growling spirit, too. After that though, it’s back to It Dockumer Lokaeltsje’s unique vision. ‘Ik Yn It Echt’ (‘Ich Und Die Wirklichkeit’) is a fairly sinister plod that nevertheless feels more menacing and mucky than the original. And ‘De Iene Tsijn De Oare’ (‘Alle Gegen Alle’) is a brilliant sermon from Rock’s pulpit, boasting a beautifully fey refrain and maximum pisstaking. By the time the last track, ‘Alles Is Goed’ (‘Alles Ist Gut’), comes around, the listener could be forgiven for feeling a little out of puff. All remaining energies are expended in this slow burning rock-out full of menace and contrasts, with some heavyweight metallic riffage thrown in for good effect.

All this, in 22 minutes. It’s quite a ride.

Something is currently stirring in the water in this most northerly province of the Netherlands. Young Dokkumers The Homesick release their pop masterpiece The Big Exercise this month on Sub Pop. Elsewhere, forward-thinking Frisian (and singer of The Ex) Arnold de Boer has unleashed an enervating exercise in sonic gymnastics with Oscar Jan Hoogland on his Makkum label. Then there is this abrasive and inquisitive racket from It Dockumer Lokaeltsje; a sonic Caliban kicking its way through our assumptions about DAF’s body of work. It’s well worth a spin.