By Lynn, Rock At Night–The Netherlands
Album Review: Avery Plains’ SoOn-released August 2020
Historically Groningen, The Netherlands, is a city with a large and ongoing underground rock scene which arose in the 1960s. The venues Vera Club and Simplon have played an important role in the music scene since the 1980s. Nowadays, the city still hosts local alt, indie and underground bands, as well as those originating from abroad. With its Bohemian vibe and eclectic taste in music, some people call Groningen the ‘Dutch Seattle’.
The band Avery Plains is based in Groningen. Founded in 2011, the band released their first self-titled album in 2015. The press reviews were very good and the band became known for their the wall of sound, energy, and melancholic songs.
It took the band 5 years to release the next album ‘SoOn’, which premiered in August 2020. Lots of changes occurred in the band, between 2015 and the making of the new album. The band performed some gigs, downsized from 11 to 4 members, used their time to create new material, and tried to maintain the characteristic sound of the band.
In my opinion, SoOn is a great follow up. The sound is still energetic, broad, and layered, but more dynamic, more balanced with more introverted passages. The gritty and dark voice of the singer Jurgen Veenstra still maintains a ragged edge to the melody lines, thus, evoking an underlying melancholy, even in songs in a major key.
The lyrics are mature, show empathy and engagement, but also darkness. You could call Avery Plains an ‘underground band’ but it’s not underground in the sense of experimental music for a niche, but in the way they work, have sense of history, in combination with a stubbornness to follow their own flow.
My first wild association when I listened to SoOn was the early Nirvana (Nevermind). And, when I listened again, I heard some Buffalo Tom, Dinosaur Jr (Avery Plains did a support of this band), Sonic Youth and a lot more. It seems the band uses the principle ‘steal like an artist’, let you inspire others, and remix, mash up and transform. So you can distinguish some band influences, in the mix of indie, noise and psychedelic rock. But what sticks in your mind after listening is one name: Avery Plains.
I think what’s important for the band, the members have played in a lot of underground bands in Groningen, with names like Santa-Fé, Vox Von Braun, Moonlizards, Dandruff, Sexton Creeps, Benjamin B, Audiotransparent. Some of them were known abroad. The band members’ history and full musical experience makes the sound of the Avery Plains strong and unique.
I hope Avery Plains get the attention they deserve. With two albums produced at this level of excellence, it has to happen.
Bandcamp (you can buy ‘SoOn’ and ‘Avery Plains’ here