Various Artists - d:qliq 3

16 songs
72:48 minutes
Songs For Ben

One and a half year after their second compilation, Luxembourg’s only music bar is back with the third instalment of the series, presenting once again bands that have played there in the last couple of years. Some things have changed though: first of all, this is not a double album, but comes therefore in a special packaging (although I have to admit that I prefer regular formats), second they changed the name of the serious (the predecessors were titled Did You d:qliq?) and third they have founded their own label Songs For Ben.

It wouldn’t make sense reviewing each band in order as they come, so I grouped them according to their country of origin. The CD starts with French pianist Cascadeur whose melancholic opener is symptomatic for what is to follow. Another French contribution, this time ending the record, is Kid Francescoli whose mellow indie pop is typical for France. Their name may sound Italian, but surprisingly this Southern European country is not featured here. The Berg Sans Nipple are a French/American duo that are live much edgier than recorded, but their meditative post rock is still a pleasure to listen to. Four further bands from the USA give North America the strongest position: Port O’Brien offer the best song from their album, with lots of choir vocals and a general mood, but unfortunately their concert had too few of those uplifting moments. Uzi & Ari are signed to Own Records from Luxembourg and have played the venue already countless times. TaughtMe are another US band from this local label. Finally there’s Trespassers William with their mix of indie and ambient. Furthers contributors are Over The Atlantic from New Zealand, a nice if not groundbreaking indie band. There’s even an English artist to be found: Jonjo Feather, whose charismatic voice crowns the cool instrumentation of his song. Three Swedish bands mostly elevate the quality level: Holmes are one of the best revelations from Northern Europe. Their lush arrangements leave me speechless time and again. Obliq are pretty cool too, coming with a male singer who has a really high voice. Pär Hagström & Cirkus Transmopol sounds unfortunately better on paper than in reality. Their cabaret infused indie pop too often fails to ignite. The two German bands couldn’t be more different: Get Well Soon pride themselves of being the only band from their country signed to City Slang Records, while the omnipresent Locas In Love perform a sweet, if may a little too long indie pop song with German Lyrics. Finally there are two local selections, both signed to the owner’s label: Natas Loves You are totally retro, The Tiquettes can’t claim to be sounding modern either, but they even seem to have rediscovered the blues.

I decided not to rate this album. The compilation is as good as the club’s concert program. Those with a fondness for soothing indie pop sounds will certainly discover some artists that they want to follow up to. It would have been nice though if this had been a double album, like last time, where one disc was similar to this one, and the other represented the also quite important electronic music program to be seen at the d:qliq. It’s still a good way to get an overview of their very idiosyncratic concert schedule.

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