Vondelpark - Seabed

Never in thrall to their influences, Vondelpark have chosen instead to craft their own brand of drowsy, bedsit electronica.


While there’s clearly much about this London-based trio that would incline most listeners to lump them in with other members of the UK bass scene - not least the fact they’re signed to the movement’s flagship label, R&S - Vondelpark place more emphasis on the organic aspects of their music, as evidenced by their captivating live shows. Blending influences as disparate as The Cure and Portishead in to the template laid out by acts like The xx and label-mate James Blake, the band, led by creative driving force, 21-year-old Lewis Rainsbury, have managed to make an album that is melancholic, hypnotic and dream-like. In fact, listening to ‘California Analog Dream’, one of the stand-out tracks on ‘Seabed’ and a song which first appeared on the 2010 ‘Sauna’ EP, you feel as though you could well be drifting in and out of sleep, in a good way.

That the band has named themselves after an Amsterdam park is clearly no coincidence, listening to the album on a loop, it’s not hard to transport yourself to a hot summer’s day, lying with the grass underneath you, staring up at the clouds drifting across a blue sky, in a state of (ahem) relaxation. While the vocals are often unintelligible, emerging from the haze and then receding again before taking on any clear form, they often serve a more rhythmic and atmospheric function, as on the album’s title track. The band’s influences clearly range far and wide, Rainsbury has claimed such on this album from Arthur Russell to Drake, they never seem in thrall to them, however, choosing instead to craft their own brand of drowsy, bedsit electronica. It’s an approach that has paid dividends, resulting in a fine album of rich, smooth, sunset-songs.

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