DEWOLFF — The Black Heart

If you’re looking to replay  your Disraeli Gears Summer of Love experiences (in your mind) and you are tempted by the possibility of some squelchy, rambling songs, accompanied by melting keys, lustrous guitar fizzes and Al Jardine-style vocal moments, and if you’re a Jefferson Airplane fan… You will love DEWOLFF. We saw them jamming at Camden’s Black Heart this week, on a rare trip away from their base in Limburg, the Netherlands.

The London jam session started right-away with rumbling spires of percussion and a profusion of lighter notes hidden within resounding yelps of guitar. Their on-stage “look” is Venice Beach circa 1965: think Byrds, Hendrix & Bryan MacLean. But there’s also something Eel Pie about Pablo van de Poel (guitars and vox) his brother Luka van de Poel (drums) and Robin Piso (Hammond). As if they regularly hang-out with the Yardbirds at weekends. If you loved the fashion-sense of the early Stones you’ll love the DeWolff image.

Numbers move easily from chuggy rugues, loaded with rock nostalgia,  and these meander towards abstract, dreamland forms. Yes, the trio play mainly glittering improvisations, and it’s obvious they’re full of glee and free-form bounce… but they also write a solid pop number when necessary. If you can imagine a mix of sounds that might include the rock of Allman Brothers, the jazz fusion of Focus and the blues-based psychedelia of Clapton, you might be close to the DEWOLFF experience.

Gravitational numbers speak loudly, for example Big Talk [shared below]. Guitars are never lumpy, always lucid and bright. The voices are poetic and the rhythms complicated.

And it’s not all blues-rock helter-skelter either. For example, songs such as “Freeway Flight” offer persuasive whispers and hints of repentance. Such moments have measured patterns and are dealt-out without haste. Many songs are delivered soul-style, and tempered by fire and steel, as well as heartbreak and regret. The colour-washes of organ extend over the exciting solos; and the jazzy atmosphere, created by all the rock ‘n’ roll jangle, becomes hypnotic.

DeWolff prove they are a cut above the rest. They’re vagabonds that have somehow escaped from a different epoch… a time when love was the dominant force and psychedelic dance halls were a swirl of living colour.

There’s never been a better time to expand your mind…

Words & Pictures: @neilmach 2018 ©
Read our Interview with DEWOLFF here


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