Van Houten: Now and Then

I’m chilled dear reader. Gigs in 2021 are like busses. You know when you have a couple dozen gigs all rescheduled and rearranged to fuk, and then when they finally turn up, there’s three come at once and meantime you have arranged to do something else.

You can either go mad dog barking at the moon angry at the injustices of the world, or as I prefer, calmly live a secondary virtual world, where you fondly reflect what the gig would have been like, but without having to leave the armchair.

So it was for Van Houten’s recent gig at Belgrave House in Leeds. I am desperate to get my ears into my first relexed, chilled VH vibe, but I was nowhere near the bus stop when their summer holiday luxury coach drove past.

So, I’m currently on the train back North from a weekend south, with my mouth freshly moistened and topped up with Vocation brewery Life and Death IPA, and my ears filled with recent Houten sounds. In particular I’m listening to the teaser to the new forthcoming Van Houten EP.

This is what you might have won”.

Slacker pop? Shoegaze? Stoner trippy? Perhaps all three and that’s why I enjoy giving my ears a regular Van Houten treatment. However, don’t totally relax, there might just be a dagger hidden up the kaftan sleeve here.

My lungs don’t appreciate a thrashing these days, so it’s just pure to get into that madly laid back mood solely through Van Houten. I love losing my mind in the intricate, slow, lazy but complicated rhythm and beats in this song. Pure is the word for this laid back little waltz, bossa nova shuffle within Now and Then.

In this song, at first glance there might be a couple deeply in love, gazing into each other’s eyes and slowly smiling their way across the dance floor.

And there’s the deep twist as that dagger comes out.

In a real love story, usually one or other in the relationship has the upper hand. Often, that can twist and turn around like a snake coiled in a tree. The focus in Now and Then is more upon an uneven coupling where one will accept the mental beating for the few crumbs that will come. Mind games aplenty. As my former student flatmate would argue with a glint in his eyes: “you gotta be mean to keep em keen”; but this is the other side of the coin and what that might mean.

So, here’s another delicious tune from Van Houten. Relaxed, psychedelic, lazy but as taut as a coiled spring, and a message within. Like everything these Leeds Van Houten guys do, totally recommended and boiling hot.

Chris R

* images are taken from the band’s social media.

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