One-man band, Joewi Verhoeven has produced a startlingly energetic, if sometimes unbalanced, debut as Arrows Made of Desire. Songs That Sell Fish, splinters into a hundred directions as this Netherlands-raised, current Beijing Film Academy undergrad fuses Sonic Youth-inspired cerebral guitar work, spindly, reverbed vocals and schizo percussion into home-recorded rock opuses.
Verhoeven’s delightfully off-kilter English is immediately disarming, swarming with self assured bombast while spouting stream-of-consciousness, neo-poetic narratives about druggy nights out and busted romances. “The Logic of Smokin’ Cigarettes” finds him playfully adapting cool-dude, Amerindie speak in a skewering of high school melodrama that morphs into a kaleidoscopic funk-rock mind trip Fishbone could be proud to play. Arrows Made of Desire hits its highest potential on a handful of cathartic head-bangers, most noticeably on the mosh pit pop-rocker, “Sober Monk” and acidic slow-burn opener, “Truism” with its Bob Mould-style guitar arabesques and intertwining vocal harmonies. Closing track, “Souvenirs From Another Planet” provides a nicely crafted counterpoint to all the hard-rock fuzz.
On the less stable second side of Songs That Sell Fish, Verhoeven proves himself bold enough to make the right kind of mistakes: erring on the side of experimentation and tricky doses of forward-think on the clunky jazz-centric spazz-out “The Walk” and the softly sweeping eccentricities of easy-listening-cum-avant-indie smackdown, “It’s the Sweet Taste of Rejection.”
With Songs That Sell Fish Verhoeven proves himself to be a self-reliant voice to watch.
Favorite Track: “Truism”