Ode To The Quiet is a quartet from the Dutch city of Utrecht. I first heard of them during my internship at the music venue Mezz, where I was to promote their upcoming show. I digged for information, listened to their music and wrote a piece for the website (in Dutch). This band blew me away twice: first when I heard their music, and second when I saw them perform live.
They play a style they like to call ‘stargaze’, which suits their sound nicely but doesn’t completely do it justice. Their self-titled debut album is shoegaze with a pop sensibility, indiefolk with droney soundscapes and neo-classical triphop all in one. The fact that this sounds like an impossible combination makes it all the more impressive that Ode To The Quiet not only manages to be a coherent piece of music, but a very compelling one too.
The album kicks off with the song Infinity, which is not just a fantastic song in its own right, but also serves as a sort of “overture”, showcasing what you’re going to get with the rest of the album. It starts off with a slow and smooth soundscape over which vocals (by Marianne Oldenburg) introduce themselves, after which the song breaks open into a bright, post-rocky passage that’s guaranteed to give you goosebumps. It’s a shining example of the excellent emotional songwriting that’s present throughout this record.
What immediately caught my ear is how the band uses silence. Do you know the feeling of watching a movie in a cinema, when all of a sudden things get quiet and you’re wondering in suspense what’s going to happen? That incredible cinematic feeling is what Ode to the Quiet conveys, and they do it well. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more suspenseful silence than halfway through Infinity.
Another standout moment is the short but sweet I Was Told, that gets in your head and under your skin with its playful and somewhat dark opening riff.
Ode To The Quiet is an impressive balancing act between experimental and accessible. Marianne’s voice is distinctive and expressive but far from an acquired taste. The familiar song structures make the strange interludes and droney soundscapes surprisingly easy to listen to.
This is one of the few bands that I would recommend to almost anyone who likes music. Have you ever enjoyed a dreamy pop record? Listen to this. Have you ever enjoyed a postrock record? Listen to this. Have you ever enjoyed an atmospheric black metal record? Listen to this. don’t you like music in general? What are you even doing here, go away. But in all seriousness, listen to this album and see Ode to the Quiet live when you get the chance, these people deserve all the praise and attention that’s coming to them.