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It had to be different. It had to be short. And it had to be in Frisian.
Between 1985 and 1990, It Dockumer Lokaeltsje left a trail of happy confusion everywhere they went, with their whimsical, jittery songs about spooks, cows, mummies and trains. After the albums Wil Met U Neuken and Moddergat and the CD compilation It Dockumer Totaeltsje, the band took a well-earned holiday.
During the absence of the trio from Leeuwarden, the microcosm that they had spawned quietly continued to grow. New characters, some dead and some alive, took up residence in the Frisian ghost village where “de Deale” (the Evil One) is feared and where the village pub stands in the middle of the graveyard, for the sake of convenience.
The imperative to report on these new developments within this little world manifested itself within the band members in the way that thunder announces itself: at first with an apologetic subterranean rumble, to be followed by the brash inevitability of thunder, lightning, gathering winds and lashings of rain. This is why the album that is to be released in October is called Tonger: The Frisian word for both thunder and lightning.
The music magazine Vinyl once called It Dockumer Lokaeltsje the “Chroniclers of Weird Frisian Life”. On Tonger, the band chronicle away lustily, while within eighteen new songs new little musical avenues are explored, branching left and right. David Thomas of Pere Ubu used to document his home region around Cleveland, Ohio by taking on the role of various characters in his songs. In the same way, we can lend our ear to the outpourings of a gamut of different characters in the songs of It Dockumer Lokaeltsje.
The old school punk song “De Leafde” presents us with a primal reaction to an unrequited rural romance. “Armaggeddon Hoptille” tips its hat to New York No Wave in the form of a breathless narrative about an irreversibly upturned sheep. And while “Kettinggang” invokes a Jamaican chaingang song in the Nick Cave tradition, “De Komeet Fan Strikwerda” concerns itself with a group of suspicious villagers who gossip about and pour scorn on the scientific discoveries of a willful fellow villager.
Tonger was recorded and mixed in the Sing Sing Studio in Metslawier, with Milan Ciric, in the winter of 2017.