Ask most music fans to name a Belgian alternative rock act and top of the list is likely to be dEUS, who have been ploughing their unique furrow for well over two decades now. Scratch beneath the surface though and there are lots of fine other acts from this country, notably Strumpets and Sukilove. As well as sharing nationality, they also have one other in common: innovative, edgy rock music which goes out of its way to be extraordinary.
It’s clear from the moment ‘Calm’ rides in on its slinky rhythms, eerie atmospherics and Pascal Deweze’s smoky vocals that this is music as far removed from indie clichés that you can get. The fact the song doesn’t really contain a chorus but instead concentrates on sinister, slow building tension only emphasises the point that Sukilove are a brave and uncompromising act. Thanks to its loose-limbed grooves and Deweze’s captivating performance in front of the microphone, ‘Somehow Someday’ has an infectious quality not normally associated with experimental rock of this kind. Elsewhere, the musical mood and tone varies between catchy and playful (‘Beatlesnake’), raw minimalism (‘Lost’) and soul/funk hybrids (for both ‘Lancelot’ and ‘You Are All I Want From You’). Yet the main stand out performances are the brilliant ‘C Thru Masquerade’ – a fantastic combination of modern psychedelia and ghost train ambience – and on the soul-baring intensity of ‘Whatever You Have (Now Now Now)’, where Deweze gives his best man on the edge performance.
Sukilove formed in 2002 and still continue to make music which is inventive, adventurous and downright addictive. Furthermore, twenty years on from dEUS’s landmark ‘Worst Case Scenario’ album, ‘Drunkaleidoscope’ deserves to re-establish Belgium’s hold on the alternative rock map again.