Cafebar 401

Cafebar 401

Wampus Multimedia, 2004

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


Big buzzy guitars, spacey vocals, hypnotic repetition and a decidedly European avant-garde vibe… take Bowie, sprinkle with Moby (for moodiness and trance qualities), and fold in some Jet (for decibels and energy), and you have the latest Dutch treat to make it across the pond, the Netherlands' own Cafebar 401.

Led by Tije Oortwijn (guitars, vocals, songwriting, production), Cafebar whips up a high-energy concoction full of melody and off-center attitude. "I read a book about your life," sings Oortwijn at one point. "It gave me a headache." LOL… and there's more where that came from.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I don't know if anybody dances to power chords these days, but having survived the disco era, I'm intrigued by the possibilities of throbbing numbers like "Something Worth Dying For" and "Full Pro Disco!" (which sounds more like Black Sabbath than Donna Summer). Both offer flashes of a kind of emo soft/hard feel that's explored further on tracks like "Lost Without You" and the disc's first single, "I Need To Know."

There are also some quiet-and-thoughtful moments captured here, notably on the piano ballad "Troubles." But Cafebar more typically provides the kind of sonic jolt implied by their caffeinated name -- not to mention song titles like "Bob Ross On Drugs." Frenetic, frothy, yearning, melodic, trance-y… these are not adjectives you commonly see nested together, but Cafebar achieves them all along the way.

In addition to mastermind Tije Oortwijn, the band includes Martijn Masman (bass), Dennis Kleinlangevelsloo (guitars) and Wout Oosterwechel (drums), whose names I have included in this review principally to try to make you laugh out loud like I did the first time I read them. (No doubt the Dutch feel the same way about Jack Johnson.)

Cafebar 401's U.S. invasion is in the capable hands of Wampus Multimedia; you can pick up this disc with a few quick clicks at If you're looking for something a little unusual -- kind of off-center, sometimes soft and sometimes hard, somewhat continental and consistently well put together -- you could go out searching for Uma Thurman, or you could just belly up to the Cafebar. They won't disappoint... and they won't attack you with a large sword, either.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2004 Jason Warburg and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Wampus Multimedia, and is used for informational purposes only.