04 Sep 2022 - Thorsten
Folklore, Psychedelic Rock | Release date: 02 Sep 2022 | Favorite song: Hafla
First of: I speak neither Turkish nor Danish, so this review is based solely on the music and the vocal expression! Nevertheless, this record surely hits a lot of sweet spots with me which have nothing to do with any understanding of lyrics! Tuhaf perform this kind of soulful, folklore-laden psychedelia which can be understood in Laurel Canyon or in Berlin as well as in Istanbul or Copenhagen!
This record is able to evoke feelings some people might not even know they had: The people who visited Turkey at some point and those who have roots there. And those who have never been there as well. All of them are united in the image of a group of people sitting at a beach bar in a semi-modern coastal town on the Mediterranean shoreline of Turkey in one of those sweaty late-summer evenings. They are pressed into those uncomfortable plastic chairs while sipping away at a raki cocktail and they are confused because all of a sudden there is a band entering the stage from left and right and they start their set with a song they announce as ”Nattesygen” and its slowly dragging mid-tempo beat somehow makes sense as it flows on the first light breeze you have felt all day. The female vocals are enchanting and soothing, the blisters on your feet from running along the way too hot sand in the midday sun don’t matter anymore. The tourists look at the five-piece and nods their heads appreciatively, this was the last and most important piece of the puzzle.
A few days later, the same band enters a stage in their hometown Copenhagen and start their set with ”Unutma” and its longing melodies that is as Turkish as it could be without ever being a cliche. The soft vibraphone bits in the background and the trumpet sounds are modern and yet, there is something in that song, that makes the Turkish grandfather of the barkeeper cry in silence, as if the lament in minor tones reminds him of something his late father had told him, before he left for Denmark. When the track receives a pumping beat in the second half, he wipes away his tears and nods to his grandson for his good choice of a band.
Another month later, the band can be found on the stage in a central European capital and the neutral observer sees a whole crowd of people dancing along to the beats of ”Hafla” with its strong folklore opening and the rhythmical vocals of the singer. They imitate dances they associate with Anatolia and smile all over because they have found a new band to warm they psyched-up hearts with knowledge of a new band their friends must check out.
All of these are possible associations because the warmth of the songs embraces everyone who has an open ear for everything between psych-rock, Americana and folklore because those are the cornerstones of the triangle in which this mighty interesting mix exists and pulls everyone in, who dares to dip a toe into it. The way the songs are structured, each with that little extra twist and surprising element is pretty unique. One might compare Mere Guld with the last Wyatt E. record, but this is less sacral and much more secular, much more 1970s than 1550s, even though they musical origins and some of the instrumentation are pretty similar. However, a classic Americana track like the mellow ”Lille Liv” could not exist on a record by the Belgians, as they do not have vocals somewhere between Linda Ronstadt and Joni Mitchell, whose music might also have had an influence on the Copenhagen quintet.
Back to Mere Guld and what it can do to you: When ”Hafla” crescendos its way to the middle by mixing the vocals and the jazzy percussion and then suddenly the bass takes the turn to some funky part one cannot but close the eyes and mentally and emotionally transport yourself into either of these three images above. The Turkish coastal bar with that slight breeze. Onto the bar stool next to the Turkish grandfather in Copenhagen. Or into the Central European club. The band playing in all of these ideas is Tuhaf. Enjoy your memories.
(as the record is not yet on Bandcamp but available on Spotify we wanted to give you the possibility to listen to it here:)