Van Cooths Go Out With a Bang

Van Cooths
Van Cooths Go Out With a Bang
Grey Past Records

The Van Cooths are a project based around the Coumans family. You might already know, father, Marthy Coumans, as the owner of Grey Past Records, you might also know him from the 80s-90s punk band, Four One and Onlys, or from another of his family projects, Oers. But you’ll mostly know him as a connoisseur of record dealing and collecting.

After years of absence, Grey Past Records is coming back with a vengeance. This year will be full of new releases from the label, starting with the Van Cooths’ farewell 12-inch EP.  The “Crazy Wizard of Breda” takes his two singing daughters on a musical trip for the last time – these girls must be fed up with recording with these old fuckers.

The family band started in 2012 with the release of Off to the USA, with both daughters – Guusje, 16 at the time, and Dieke, 14 – on vocals. Their debut release was a really charming lo-fi poppy garage family affair.

Their second album, The Van Cooths Are Back, was a little different. Now a little older, the girls lend their hands more to writing and singing duties. Dieke has evolved into a punk rock diva and Guusje brings in more folky influences. The 200-copy release, with no real distribution behind it, was pretty successful and sold out in no time. But what seemed to be the kick-off for a more successful career almost ends there.

Like on the first two albums, Peter Kroes, of Keefmen, Kring and Low Point Drains, plays guitar, Gerhard Rinsma, of Krontjong Devils, appears on bass, and Patrick Delabie is on drums.

First of all, I have to mention the breathtaking artwork. Like on the second album, the artwork is based on a painting of Dieke’s – who works as a full-time painter these days. The first song, ‘False Sense Of Security’, explodes from your speakers with a very aggressive sounding Dieke on vocals. All of the innocence from back in the day is gone. It continues with ‘One Day in Rome’, where hardcore breaks and a more snotty-sounding Dieke, goes into a beautiful harmony with her sister in a more psychedelic chorus, before throwing you back into the same punk energy it started out with.

The B-side starts off with a new version of an old song. Guusje’s beautifully sung ‘You Said No’ featuring lute and a traditional Turkish instrument called a darbecki, alongside trippy eruptions of wild guitar. The last song is a final goodbye from the Van Cooths, with an angry Dieke again rudely telling us to ‘Shut Up’. That’s the way the Van Cooths go out – with a BANG!

Stefan Schepers

For past Van Cooths records, Off to the USA and The Van Cooths Are Back! check Discogs.