Dutch garage-pop four-piece finds beauty in the mundane
On Dadcore, the just-released album from Dutch garage-pop quartet Mozes and the Firstborn, singer Melle Dielesen appears to revel in the album's title, penning songs about hair loss, shopping for oatmeal and other seemingly mundane occurrences. Yet, by narrowing his focus, Dielesen manages to uncover beauty, sadness and hope in these often-overlooked moments, some of which, yes, are spent shuffling aimlessly through grocery store aisles in the wee hours of the morning.
“I had a teacher in film school who was like, ‘The more you take a personal thing, or something that's very close to you, and zoom in … the more universal it gets,'” said Dielesen, who joins his bandmates in concert at Ace of Cups on Sunday, Feb. 10. “I have a very strong belief you can write a song about anything, so I have a tendency to take subjects like ‘Sad Supermarket Song,' which is about going around at closing time, having to get something, being lost, and it can become like a tragi-comedy, and there's some sort of beauty in that. As an artist, that's what you do: try and make something beautiful out of something that is very everyday.”
Dielesen said the band also enjoys crafting songs that, on the surface, sound loose and catchy, built on scruffy, momentous guitars and sunny, handclap choruses that belie the grit building underneath. In a way, it mirrors Dielesen's view of Los Angeles, a city he lived in for two months prior to the start of this tour.
“On one hand, you see the beautiful palm trees and have the sunshine, and on the other, when you drive, right before you turn on the highway, you see a whole bunch of tents where people are living,” he said.
The singer shared a similar experience of visiting San Francisco on tour, when, as night fell, the Mission District transformed from a colorful, highly populated neighborhood to what Dielesen termed “a zombie-land” of addicts and shady-looking characters. “We were all completely silent and looking at each other like, ‘What is this?'” he said. “It was super scary and cruel and horrible, but at the same time it was something we'd never seen before.”
Coming into Mozes and the Firstborn nearly a decade ago, Dielesen was enamored with Guided By Voices (more sonically than in terms of recorded output; Mozes has released just three albums in its nine-year existence), but the band has since “become its own thing,” he said.
“I think we've always had the ambition to be a band that is not afraid to write a good pop song,” he said. “But, at the same time, in production and attitude everything is just a little off-center.”