One of the more unusual Dutch progressive records I’ve come across is Slumberlandband and I still don’t know what to make of it, obviously inspired by The Beatles and going so far as to name one of the songs on the album after the Fab Four as a tribute, the music picks up on the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ era.
Written by: Eric
SERIAL: NK 202
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Netherlands
LINEUP: Friedrich Hlawatsch – lead vocals, violin * Ernst Janz – keyboards, steel drums, vocals * Joost Belinfante – guitars, violin, vocals * Piet Dekker – bass * John Lodewijks – drums, latin drums, percussion
TRACK LISTING: 01 House Hold Queen * 02 In The Park * 03 Zoo * 04 Marie * 05 Knekeldans Mean Green Dragon * 06 Complicated Life * 07 Sidewalk * 08 The Sweetest Serenade * 09 The Beatles * 10 Life Goes On And On
One of the more unusual Dutch progressive records I’ve come across and I still don’t know what to make of it! Like so many obscure one-off’s information is limited on Slumberlandband other than a few photos of the group in pre-Jellyfish gear (floppy hats etc..) and two members went on to Doe Maar, a popular ‘Nederpop’ group which I am ashamed to say I have never heard.
Slumberlandband’s live shows appear to have been an off-the-wall musical circus with all sorts of carnival-like strangeness going on. The group appeared at a few festivals in the land of windmills and cheese, but a second album never materialised. Perhaps the record buying public thought their sound was just a little too ‘out there’?
With its Dr. Seuss meets ‘Scooby Doo’ inspired cover art, Slumberlandband band were a creative bunch I’ll give ’em that. Obviously inspired by The Beatles and going so far as to name one of the songs on the album after the Fab Four as a tribute, the music picks up on the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ era. It contains psychedelic, music hall, brass band and classical motifs weaving in and out through each track.
Other influences show an obvious admiration for the The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band whose history is tied to The Beatles as well as The Fool. The latter were the Dutch art collective who were responsible for the colourful graphics used by The Beatles in the late 60’s and recorded a psych folk album of their own produced by Graham Nash.
Having said this, Slumberlandband is such a mish mash of styles it tends to lose its way. Fredrich Hlawatsch’s (say that three times!) vocals sound like a weaker version George Harrison and the material while unusual, fails to deliver anything memorable.
As many times as I have listened to this record I have not been able to figure out what Slumberlandband were trying to achieve musically? Too creative for their own good possibly, a second album might have worked out the kinks but who knows. Very odd, never on CD and getting expensive on LP, ‘Slumberlandband’ is an album for Beatles fans and those in the mood for something off the beaten path. The rest of you I advise to steer clear.
Slumberlandband on Video
Entire Album (Select Tracks)