Unlike their name proclaims, De Staat is not performing their music in Dutch. That being said, this band has established international fame with their infectious rock/crossover tunes with stoner guitar walls and Britpop infected harmonies, which landed them slots on acclaimed festivals as Lowlands, Pinkpop, Sziget and Glastonbury. "Vinticious Versions" is an 8 track EP featuring a collection of songs from their 3 albums I_CON (2013), Machinery (2011) and Wait for Evolution (2009), stripped down and re-recorded to depit the bands wide varied musical interests.
Don't expect acoustic outings from the outfit around frontman Torre Florim. De Staat is way too stubborn to enroll such intimate outings and rather takes things to a higher level. The result is an interesting and captivating piece of work exploring the history of music.
A name which instantly came to mind was that of Dutch diva Lilian Hak whom "Lust guns & Dust" managed to bring to live the 50's and 60's grandeur of spaghetti western soundtracks and baroque pop, crossing over with lush modern sound samples and radiating charisma. The gritty undertone she managed to capture is present on De Staat's EP as well, but they took it all just a step further. Performing their songs in 50's jazz style, the songs breathe the smoky rooms of New Orleans and the gritty swing of that era. Sampling those tracks into the present De Staat transformed each song uniquely without losing that atmosphere.
"Input Source Select" for instance contains the bumpy ride A Tribe Calle Quest is well known for. On top the band topped of that sound with the vocal interaction of Beasty Boys without discarding the old school feeling of the tune. The result is a mind-blowing dance'-track which sound both, old school as well as very modern.
"Get it Together" rambles on with the western soundtrack influences much like La Hak's art noire songs, even though it is more danceable and obnoxious. Obnoxious also is the word for the 50's swinging tune "Build that, Buy that" with its brass section and surf guitar tone. The same Dick Dale riffing which is present on "Down Town" with its dark and deep vocals creating a psychedelic overhaul on this slow paced bossa nova track escaped from the next Tarantino flick. A clean guitar riff steered straight into the mixing desk spitting a reggae like feel on "All is Dull," making way for the slow mover "Devil's Blood" with its gritty gloomy mood. The vocal interaction adds up to the burlesque art noire setting created.
"Get it together" has the whistling straight from "Once upon a Time in the West" but the song blooms in a dark work floor setting adding up to the lyrics about sweatshops. The beat is infectious and haunting linking the mood of the album. "Wait for Evolution" is another psychedelic outing which fits the band perfectly and ends the album in style. The 70's Hendrix whammy style of playing adds up to the mood setting which links the bands stoner sound perfectly to the path followed on this "Vinticious Versions."
De Staat proves themselves a band with style and uniqueness, reviving the old musical styles at hand and blends it with their own tracks. The result is a very intense and heartwarming album which balances on the fine line between modern art and being tacky. I classify it as art, and you should do the same. This 8 track EP might not be the best introduction for new fans but it sure as hell hits the right spark.
89 out of 100
Story by Edwin van Hoof, 2014.