Today, while reading my morning newspaper, I discovered a band called The Serenes from a nearby place called Joure in Friesland in the northern part of Holland (where I live). The band existed from 1988 to 1994 but I had never heard of them before reading the article from Gijsbert Kamer, a Dutch journalist (provided below with a rough translation into English).
Rough Translation (With Help From Mike)
So many classic rock albums have been made in the Netherlands. Albums that stand for a certain time in the rock ‘n’ roll history and always sound special. Revolution of Q 65 (1966), Ivy Green of Ivy Green (1978), Mental Floss For the Globe by Urban Dance Squad (1989) and Palomine by Bertie Serveert (1992) all have that status.
The album Barefoot And Pregnant by The Serenes is another such album. During the autumn of 1990, when the American bands Pixies, Sonic Youth, REM and the British band Stone Roses were making their leading guitar music (before the grunge craze), this beautiful record by the Serenes appeared from Joure.
The Serenes had two great singers/guitarists with Paul Dokter and Theo de Jong and a sound data matched the heady understated guitar pop of The Feelies but still sounded very original.
The guitarists created a wonderful guitar sound which is highlighted in the beautiful closing track Trip Down Memory Street. The sound differed from other Dutch rock bands at that time from the so-called Amsterdam School (Claw Boys Claw, Fatal Flowers).
Barefoot and Pregnant was critically acclaimed and did not go unnoticed abroad. But Dokter and de Jong parted, and worse, the album was not available for years.
The later problem has now been resolved with a wonderful reissue on Re, a sub-label of Excelsior. The reissued CD includes unreleased material from Dokter and De Jong as bonus tracks but the album itself still has much to offer even after all these years.
In addition to the Barefoot and Pregnant album mentioned in the article, the band released Back to Wonder in 1993 (by this time Paul Dokter had left the band). Having now listened to both albums by The Serenes all I can say is …..what a great find and what beautiful music. They sound a bit like early R.E.M. and I like them very much. Let’s listen to some music by The Serenes and so you can see what I am talking about…….
Rebecca (You’re Gonna Be Alright) – from Barefoot and Pregnant
Sprit (Let Me Walk With You) – from Back to Wonder
Special thanks to Tony Pas for his great videos for the two songs above!
If you like what you have heard, I have a gift for you all the way from Holland. You can listen to both albums below. Mike tells me that these albums are not easily available in the United States so this may be your best opportunity to listen to them.
Barefoot and Pregnant (Full Album)
Back to Wonder (Full Album)