Over the past few years, Dutch outfit Lewsberg have been constant charmers. While their works never seem to sit still, never seem quite satisfied with the nature of their sound, the band’s themes of bookish pop and brushes with post-punk seem to thread through their catalog. The first couple of albums were raw, wired, and sinewy with nods to Wire and The Velvets. They followed those up with a much softer swerve — the quiet and contemplative mini-album In Your Hands. For their latest, the band has split their impulses. As the first record with touring drummer and vocalist Marrit Meinema, the band has begun to let a new light into the live room. With her addition the band moves towards a more communal model of songwriting and the soft-focus ebb of Out and About reflects that aesthetic.
The songs here aren’t as cradled as those on In Your Hands, a record that strips away much of the rhythmic pulse that boils under the band’s sound, but they melt the edges of their angst just a bit. A greater focus on vocals from bassist Shalita Dietrich and the newly added Meinema serves to soften the often acerbic patter of Arie van Vliet. This time around the VU strums still rise through the ramble, but the band leans closer to downstream tributaries like The Feelies, Marine Girls, and Young Marble Giants. The latter shines through quite a bit in the album, and its great to see the band solidify in the studio, feeling as self-assured as they ever have. There are some singles from the early days that cut closer to the bone, but Out and About is as cohesive an album as the band have offered yet.
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