Friday, August 26, 2022

KOLBAK Delivers Pop Punk Nostalgia With New Album ‘To The Teeth’

KOLBAK is an indie band consisting of Harold Pflug, Ronald van der Vaart and Martin Voigt. The Dutch group is known for defying genres and experimenting with many different indie pop rock styles and sounds.

They began their musical journey back in 2007, enduring many changes to their lineup and their sound. They finalized as the three-piece they are today in 2017, and they have been touring and producing their own records ever since.

Their first EP in 2019, ‘Twist And Turns’ earned several rave reviews and got them some local media buzz, now, they are excited to finally be back with a brand new album, ‘To The Teeth’.

This record feels like a journey through ‘90s/’00s teen nostalgia, their sound will remind listeners of the early days of Fall Out Boy or Third Eye Blind. ‘To The Teeth’ discusses themes of love, loss, personal growth and freedom, but in a more mature way than early ‘00s pop indie rock groups. Rather than jealousy, teen angst and mentions of parking lots, KOLBAK is the positive point of view, singing about reflection and relaxation. These themes are explored immediately with the opening tune ‘Off Day’ creating an exciting and sunny atmosphere that would fit flawlessly on a beach day playlist. It has a ‘90’s vibe in the instruments with strong strumming guitar riffs that are the focal point of the song and complement the Matchbox Twenty-sounding vocals. 

The group swiftly transitions into ‘Happy Days’, using “doot doot doots” as the major backing vocal. Sampling the popular ‘70s sitcom theme singing “Happy days are here again // Happy nights are here again”, they deliver a sweet love tune that is simple, with early pop-punk-styled hard guitar riffs that compliment the drums.

The title track, ‘To The Teeth’ is the optimal 2000’s pop-punk number, the amplified guitar delivers a riff perfect for headbanging and the drums stand out on this one. This melody allows some more instrumental experimentation here rather than focusing on the vocals. It has a cowbell and bass solo, then later a moment that is just soft microphone static and bass, and it’s a wonderful display of musical creativity from KOLBAK. The lyrical structure of this is very reminiscent of early indie-rock: a countdown at the beginning, it’s delivered in more of an easy-going spoken-word style. It has a whispered bridge, random high notes, fillers of “alright!” and  “yeah yeah yeah”s and the chorus is the intensified part of the tune. This is the highlight of the album. 

The lead single, ‘Up For Air’ displays an emotional side, with just piano, violins and much softer lead vocals. This sad song about loss is a real 180 from the start of this happy, pop punk-esque playlist. This one is sweet but very short, with just two verses. The trio sandwiches the sadder songs, like ‘Confusion Against’ and ‘Up For Air’  with the upbeat ones, such as ‘Off Day’, ‘Happy Days’ and the closer ‘They Don’t Know’. This final melody displays a sort of campfire guitar feel and sweet vocal harmonies from the group.

Overall, KOLBAK will fill the listener’s hearts and ears with love and nostalgia. ‘To The Teeth’ is a welcome walk down the memory lane of early pop-punk and indie rock. Needless to say, this record feels as cosy as flipping through a scrapbook on a rainy day; it will allow fans to reflect on their personal journeys through heartbreak, love and opportunities while keeping a smile on their faces. KOLBAK has found a way to bring the musical stylings of the past into the future.

Hope Orr


Image: Chris Van Houts // KOLBAK Official Website Photo

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