Eighteen (2011)

For eighteen years now, New Cool Collective has brought countless venues to the boiling point when sweat is literally dripping from the ceiling. Right back to the furthest, hidden corners the public would be swept up with hair was sticking to their faces and their feet airborne. Whether it’s the nineteen-piece Big Band or the more compact eight-piece, New Cool Collective is impossible to think away from the clubs and festivals of the Netherlands and beyond.Eighteen is the official age of adulthood in the Netherlands. In theory it’s the perfect time for a look back. But don’t expect a nicely-packaged anniversary album. No matter how much experience they have collected over the years in their playing, composing and internal bickering, the music still comes with the energy of a pack of young pups. Driven and with no time to lose, they are always out to try something new.

So it’s not about nostalgia. And after the fat, thick resin left behind by the latest Big Band album, Pachinko, it was time for the eight-piece formation to create an album with more of a sense of space and lightness. In a way, Eighteen continues from where the 2008 album, Out of Office, left off. So perhaps they are looking back somewhat. This is certainly true in the way the music is made. Moving from nineteen-pieces back to eight, and entering a new album with open visors, they still believe everything is possible and allowed. But now this attitude comes with heaps more experience when compared to their early, tender years.

With varied influences that range from Surf, Rock Steady and Electro to Afro-Cuban and even Dub, Eighteen covers a lot of musical ground. And that should not come as a surprise, as they have enjoyed and learned from much from their international collaborations. Poet/DJ Jules Deelder taught them the true meaning of swing (‘The drums must come a little later while the bass should come a little ahead. What’s most important is that they don’t come at the same time’). Teaming up with rapper Typhoon forced the band to play very fast and focussed. And through the collaboration with Los Papinos & Mapacha, their singing abilities reached a whole new level.

Perhaps that’s the sense of ‘adulthood’ that has sneaked onto Eighteen. They are certainly better than ever: more versatile, more tight and yet looser. Each member is self-willed, but also more tuned to the others. They no longer feel it necessary to play every note and solo as loud as possible. But while they are adults they are also still young dogs, and Eighteen exhibits the best of both of these worlds.




1 Voodoo Surf
2 Jackpot
3 Marche Funebre Rocksteady Dirge (After F. F. Chopin)
4 Snarky
5 The Donkey
6 Ogun
7 12 Monkees
8 The Bouncer
9 Frankie and Gracie
10 Como Camina
11 Sanctification