Despite their name sounding as though they’re a Norwegian death metal band, DeWolff (the name taken from Harvey Keitel’s character in ‘Pulp Fiction’) is, in fact, a Dutch three-piece whose music has been described as a “luscious brand of expansive bluesy neo-psychedelia“.
In spite of only being in their mid-twenties, the trio has been playing together for over a decade, and their music has evolved to the point where they can alternatively be heavy, funky, blues-based or rocky. When you listen to DeWolff, you’re never quite certain what you’re going to get.
This album is as stripped back as it gets, this is because it was recorded in a variety of off-the-beaten-track places while hurtling across Europe on tour in 2019, places such as motel rooms, by the side of a road and a backstage changing room or two. According to keyboardist Robin Piso, because of the somewhat unusual locations, the various tracks on the album were recorded in, “We had to use portable stuff like a drum sampler and pocket synth’s to make it all work“.
So, did they make it all work? Well, this is a very short album, twelve tracks running to thirty-two minutes and if you were expecting to hear Thrust Mk2, you’re in for a let-down. That’s because there’s very little rocking at all on this album. On only one track, ‘Love is such a Waste‘, does guitar man Pablo van de Poel let rip and rock out. For the rest of the album, The Tascam Tapes is simply a series of grooves and feels rooted in the southern blues, played in a minimalist style, and with DeWolff teleporting the listener back to the southern seventies.
Opening track ‘Northpole Blues’ comes across almost like an outtake from the early days of the Allman Brothers and this largely sets the tone for the album. Songs in a similar shuffling groove follow, such as ‘Let It Fly’, ‘Blood Meridian 2‘, ‘Awesomeness Of Love’, and ‘It Aint Easy’ sound like they could have been a top 10 hit in the 1970s. The two standout tracks are ‘Am I losing My Mind’ which is a lovely slow blues jam with a subtle orchestral backing, and ‘Rain’, a glorious, slow psychedelic blues track worthy of being covered by Janis Joplin, were she still around to do it.
The Tascam Tapes is an album far removed from the rock of Thrust, and also from 2019’s live album, Live And Outta Sight 2. This is a slower-paced album with a warm feel which shows DeWolff are willing to take risks with their music in their desire to evolve, and for this alone they deserve to be congratulated.