You’re going to have to bear with me regarding the beauty of this album, Sailor Boy II. I don’t usually write out of my element, and it’s a bit difficult to explain and re-organize into words something that wasn’t meant to have been explicable. BUT, it is inexplicability that makes anything experimental beautiful, a fact which is exemplified to a tee on the recent album Sailor Boy II, by those in the collective Jeunesse Cosmique that make up Montreal-based NOORDWIIJK. So bear with me.
The album opens with the track “Silver Fox,” a song that is somewhere between an industrial safe haven and a spiritual retreat for those who love all things dark and paranormal. Listening to the second track “Silence of the Sirens,” you feel as if you’re deep underground in some sort of terrifying, ethereal cave. The atmospheric sounds that hit your ears are incredibly transcendental.
“Schwarzwald Trio Part 3”, the third track, sports weird, off-key horns that echo into a dark space, compelling you to follow blindly behind. No matter how many times you listen to theses tracks, you’re always going to be missing at least one of the beautiful notes amidst the layers. It is almost carnival-like in the best way possible. The track spirals into all sorts of different mischievous sounds that lead you into an audible oblivion. “Down in the Boiler” sounds literally as if you’re lost in a horror movie in a boiler room. If you can imagine the sounds you would hear emanating from an eerie, damp room lit with only old industrial fireplaces built in the bottom of a ship, you may have a tiny grasp on what Jérémie Jones and the collective that is NOORDWIIJK are capable of.
The difficulty in distinguishing major differences between the tracks is simultaneously one of the weaker and the strongest suits of the album. I have a hard time not thinking of early Pink Floyd, in the days of Meddle circa Live at Pompeii. They match their experimental abilities in a way that I have yet to have heard, and loved.
I have tried to make up for my inability to describe how fantastically unique NOORDWIIJK and JEUNESSE COSMIQUE are; if I have failed, I ask all of you wonderful people who take the time to read an independently-owned publication dedicated to local music such as Bucketlist to trust me on this one, and to listen to Sailor Boy II yourselves. I challenge each and every one of you to give it a good, thorough listen, and then to find a way to categorize these ridiculously talented musicians and the brilliance that lies between the layers of this album.
Anyone who says that creative, genuine music is dead should give Sailor Boy II and NOORDWIIJK a serious listen.
Written by Jordan Hodgins
*edited by Kate Erickson