Kwartet Niek Hilkmann - Koele Meren
You could easily call the (Dutch) songwriter Niek Hilkmann the Dutch Jonathan Richman. The deadpan observations and existential, introspective lyrics evoke memories of the man’s best work. Richman looked to The Velvet Underground for inspiration at the time, and it’s clear that the instrumental foundations of “Koele Meren” are also partly indebted to the primitive rock ‘n’ roll of Reed, Cale, Morrison and Tucker.
By constantly surprising you with unexpected observations and discoveries, the listener gets a glimpse into Hilkmann’s mind. He peels himself off as if it were an onion and the listener discovers under each layer yet another existential topic that is on the mind of the Rotterdam songwriter. These are often weighty themes, but the quartet leaves enough room for a light-hearted note and wraps it all up in catchy songs.
“Koele Meren” has therefore become a record that on the surface listens like an excellent Dutch-language alternative pop album, but on closer inspection reveals a collection of songs in which anyone who sometimes struggles with the how and why of this life will find comfort and recognition. “Nothing is lost yet, it’s just between my ears.”