When listening to the second record of Vox Von Braun the first time, the first refrain of The Joker, by this other Dutch band Woody And Paul, springs to mind. A very earthly explanation why their success is what it is(n’t).
I wasn’t born in the USA
And everything went wrong
I never made it to the walk of fame
But still I’m going strong
Four lines that might as well be applied to Vox Von Braun. Any band coming from either United States or Great-Britain would have been hailed as the new saviours of indie rock music, the next big thing or the new Beatles, Rolling Stones or what ever sticks best on the cover of the NME. But the adventurous mix of shoegaze, garage-rock and great hooks has its roots in the higher parts of The Netherlands, Groningen.
Only half a week – during Eurosonic/Noorderslag – the town is the pounding heart of rock ‘n’ roll and pop-culture, but outside of this four days long “New Year’s meeting” of the music press, bookers and other important figures in The Business it is mostly a student city with an outstanding taste in music, a legendary concert hall and (in the same street) very sympathetic and specialised record-store. This all might be a perfect soil for an adventurous indie-rock band, but not the best fertiliser for eternal success and grand exposure.
Talking of exposure, that will be even less if you release your album just days before Christmas, again in Groningen. A big fat middle finger to the music industry or low self-esteem of a band that only believes to have created a record for friends and family. Whatever the case, good music has its manner of finding its way to the wanting and willing listener.
Attention that Rich And On Wheels certainly deserves. Not really sticking to one style, Vox Von Braun one moment sounds like The Butthole Surfers playing sixties bubblegum and the other switches to a mix of Pavement with Jesus And The Mary Chain trying to record a dirty as hell garage hard rock song. There is constant tongue-in-cheek feel to all the songs. Take the title song, a sixties sunshine beat pop tune with cynical lyrics on a gold-digger that sticks with her man because of his wallet
In Pitch Black one can almost see a bikers-pack driving of into the setting sun, supported by a heavy pounding stoner riff that burns tracks of rubber in your speakers. This while in a song like Jezebel Vox Von Braun just took a mix of drugs that sent Syd Barrett and Peter Green in to their mental crises. Audacious songs, but some how on the verge of sanity; Vox Von Braun at first seems to be a rather easy listen, but has a long line of sonic and productional surprises if one takes a more careful listen. Catchy with a hint of ludicrousness, Rich And On Wheels is an album that can appeal to a more mainstream audience as well as those looking for the dare-devils in pop music.