Grand Mal

Perfect Fit

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Upon a first listen to Perfect Fit, you can immediately guess that Grand Mal comes from the Netherlands. Never mind that vocalist Stephie Büttrich is German or that Justin Bennett grew up in England before he decided to live in the Hague. This trio is Dutch, as Dutch as Braaxtaal -- not that the similarity is particularly striking beyond the experimental electro-pop the two groups share. But there is an affinity between them, a challenging essence. The strange music produced by Bennett (drums), Büttrich (vocals and objects), and Anne Wellmer (synthesizer, drum machine, and laptop) also has much to do with Macaronic Sines, Anna Homler's mid-'90s trio with Geert Waegeman and Pavel Fajt. You can feel it in the playful nature of Büttrich's vocalizations and in the charming details provided by small objects and subtle percussion. Perfect Fit presents 16 pieces, most of them short. Only a couple would fit the common description of a song. The other ones have an uncertain status, somewhere between experimental electronica (think laptop improv), electro-pop, and childish games. The album requires you give it a few spins before the magic can work, but once it does the spell is strong. Büttrich allies the charming innocence of Homler and Jaap Blonk's unbridled creativity. The strange electronic flourishes provided by the other musicians wrap the voice in an aura of mystery. More please.

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