Leeds quintet, Van Houten have just shared a brand-new track from their forthcoming self-titled album. ‘Running Scared’ oozes with indie charm coupled with a sense of longing and desperation.
While artists operating from a similar whimsical, slacker-pop wheelhouse – think Connan Mockasin – often draw content from literary, sci-fi planes, Van Houten use their dreamy sound world as a backdrop for their most crushing struggles. Singer-songwriter, Louis Sadler is unflinchingly honest, railing against depression and its innate ability to inhibit him from being the caring partner he wishes to be.
Sadler hits crisis point on ‘Running Scared’, he sees no way out from his depression. From the backseat he stares out of car windows, wishing he was the people walking the pavements, falsely believing that happiness meets their every step. It’s unexpected to hear these words atop slumberous solos and breezy synths yet this distinctive partnership is what makes Van Houten so utterly compelling.
Van Houten – completed by Megan Lama, Frank Fairweather, Jake Ribton and Henry Beaumont – are a band of sharp parallels. Their languorous, sub-mersive soundscapes are dappled in evening sun, while the lyrical content within is evocative of a blanket of unforgiving fog that foretells pounding rains ahead. Newly signed to Clue Records, the band come straight out of the gate fully armed with an accomplished and immediate self-titled debut, due for release on 13th September.
Largely recorded across just three December days, Van Houten was produced by Martin Smith (Gomez, Bombay Bicycle Club, Richard Hawley). With Smith at the helm, Van Houten were able to realise their true sound. “We met Martin at a small bar in Sheffield. He went on to do a whole new mix and master of our then single ‘Ever Changing Light.’ The way Martin made the track sound made us realise what could be possible for our music. It was a match made in heaven.
“When making the album, we were able to finally sculpt the vintage Hi-Fi sound that we have always been searching for. The title is Van Houten because this is the first work we have created that truly represents our band. This new sound is the true sound of our band,” explains Sadler. An album for all seasons, it’s clear that Van Houten are already expert at their craft and a band to be reckoned with.
Van Houten will be supporting Wylderness at The Social in London on 4th September. In the meantime, fellow northerners can catch them at Party Hardly‘s Modern Strife Is Snobbish EP Party, at Hyde Park Book Club in Leeds this evening. More live dates below.
‘Running Scared’ is out now.
Upcoming Live Dates
16 – Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
21 – Hagglers Corner, Sheffield
24 – Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen, Leeds
04 – The Social, London
16 – Headrow House, Leeds
09 – Tyne Bank Brewery Tap, Newcastle-upon-Tyne