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De Staat: I_CON

Something rhythmic in the state of Holland.

A few years ago De Staat played a live Dutch TV session that this writer checked out on YouTube. It wasn’t the slickest of starts: after some clunking about, the bass and drums kicked into an improbably lumpy riff, then someone started laughing. It wasn’t a mistake – that sort of agit-prog approach runs throughout this exhilarating set.

Build That, Buy That lurches along, like early XTC playing My Sharona with breathy flute samples added in. It hits a killer chorus, suddenly hurtling through a set of hall-of-mirrors chord changes with a guitar solo and keyboard scribbles, then bursts out the other side.

These Dutchmen can play it tricky or almost moronically simple, as on Witch Doctor. Toore Florim half-chants, half-raps over a pulverising, industrial- strength drumbeat and a one-note fuzz bass, until all morphs into a martial rhythm with a guitar solo somewhere between Zappa and Devo.

Among all the stridency there are strong tunes, John Barry-esque filmic touches and a search for the epic, which they achieve on The Inevitable End. A mantric drum figure with a nagging keyboard motif slips through some unlikely chord changes into a beautiful, drumless, Mellotron-laced coda.