Thursday, December 22, 2022

Rockpool Dramas

This is intriguing stuff. Amsterdam-based Stanley Ward aka Rockpool Dramas released a 3-track EP with Christmas songs, ranging from a soft rock ode to Queen Elizabeth II (RIP) to a Dougie Poole'ish, sad-drunk ballad. Closing off with a fuzz-drenched dreamwave love letter to Santa, or Santa's baby, by someone calling himself 'Hony Tawk' (so not Tony Hawk).

Since I am from Amsterdam, I guess I could've heard from this project (band?), but from what I dug up via google, none of the names rang a bell (hey, it's a big city). Apparently, Rockpool Dreams is part of this radio show, in which every week a self-composed song is played about a movie. They're definitely not Dutch. When you check Stanley Ward's insta, you'll find more about Rockpool Dramas: 'What happens when a jazz fusion bassist, a swing drummer who plays heavy metal, a classical composer, and an alternative folk singer come together to play guitar music? It turns out you get the full band iteration of Rockpool Dramas, now with added punch. For all intents and purposes its rock and roll. As Warhol said to Lou Reed and John Cale: “Make it big, people like it that way".' Intriguing, like I said.
What's more important - all three songs on this Christmas EP are very, very good. 'All I Want for Christmas (is the Queen) could've just been a parody, or a comedy number. And from what I can make out from the lyrics, it's not entirely serious. But it also feels heartfelt, this is sung by a Brit who was genuinely shaken by the death of the Queen.
'Wish me Merry Christmas (over the phone)' has that right balance that a tragi-comic, slightly tipsy sounding Xmas number on booze and heartbreak needs. And 'I Miss You (Santa)' has the right stoner vibe, the fuzz, the f-bombs and should've been engineered a bit better, in a better studio, to really make an impact. This could be the Xmas song The Lemonhead never made in their heyday. If you listen to other Rockpool Drama songs (on Spotify), you can hear the influence by mid-90s American indie rock. Which is a good thing.
H/t to Jim/Christmas Underground