By now, a lot of you may already be aware of the resurgence in Dutch music this last year. We’d previously written about the likes of Jett Rebel, Chef’Special and Kensington, the latter of which is now set to play two sell-out arena shows later this year. Now, though, another band has started making waves in Holland, namely the Suus de Groot-fronted sextet Sue the Night. Last week saw the release of their debut album Mosaic, read on for a full review of the record.
The record opens with Top of Mind, a song we’ve all heard before. A calm, drum-led rhythm is slowly accompanied by swirling guitars and de Groot’s serene voice. “Is this all there is left?” questions de Groot throughout the opening track as it slowly builds up with extra layers consisting of xylophones, jagged guitar stabs and harmonious backing vocals. Slow drums kick off the ethereal Somebody’s Watching, a brooding song which encompasses an anthemic chorus and hypnotic backing vocals. A xylophone-based bridge introduces tribal drums and brass to make for a grand outro, before Fool’s Gold speeds the pace back up again. A glockenspiel and drum combination precedes a danceable chorus in which de Groot proclaims, “dancing till it all falls down”. Woozy synths then enable the song to progress nicely, leading into The Great Bear’s choir-esque intro consisting of de Groot’s layered vocals. A twangy guitar underpins a more rhythmic yet stripped back basis which, for the most part, sees a tambourine and slight percussion form the backbone of the song. It builds up nicely once a lone violin (courtesy of Matthijs Barnhoorn) enters, although maybe there just isn’t enough to the song to keep it continuously interesting. She’s demure guitar and jagged violin intro is accompanied by Tobias Ponsioen’s drumming and Linda van Leeuwen’s added percussive sounds to create an extremely hypnotic outro. Watercolours, on the other hand, opens with electronic drums and a synth/xylophone combination. This gives the whole track an RnB feel, before some watery feedback noises make way for ambient ad-libbing on de Groot’s behalf. The song doesn’t build up an awful lot for the most part, rather opting to stay brooding.
New single The Whale brings the pace back with a very Bruce Springsteen-esque guitar intro and backing synths. An extremely catchy vocal opening and danceable beat makes way for de Groot’s lyrics on relationships, the 21st century and “the whale in the closet”. It’s one of the best songs on the album, mainly due to its sheer upbeat feel perfect for indie discos the world over. The equally fantastic Look Forward, which has been a live highlight for a while now, follows with another catchy sing-a-long moment in the chorus, giving off a more tribal feel in its wailed vocals. Winter’s Coming, a phrase applicable to half of the Dutch year, starts off with a lone guitar and de Groot’s reminiscent vocals before other instruments slowly join her. Unlike preceding slow songs, Winter’s Coming has an exciting build-up in which de Groot battles it out with her own, overpowering backing vocals. The build-up may be a bit too short for our liking, but it’s still a step in the right direction. Penultimate track Bogeyman turns it down another notch with more slow drums and swirling guitars, as de Groot tells us to “blame it on the bogeyman” over a mix of swaying vocals and light strings. The album closes on the hopeful sounding Beckon, whose intro consists of an “instantly recognizable” guitar melody which is eventually joined by upbeat drums and de Groot’s smooth voice. Handclap beats accompany her in the verses, as the song ends nicely on a mix of increased intensity and the same, recurring xylophone melody.
Although Mosaic ends on a hopeful, slightly melancholic note, we can definitely be sure that this isn’t the last we’ve heard of Sue the Night. Mosaic is a great debut album from a band who is definitely taking a step in the right direction.