A fingerpicker in the vein of Townes van Zandt and Neil Young, Groningen’s Joost Dijkema comes through with an album of dense folk ditties that veer from rambunctious to contemplative without ever losing the propulsive energy of his nimble guitar playing. Though drums, vocals and electric guitars occasionally enter the fray, this is largely a record that rests on his technical prowess and ability to craft woozy, shimmering soundscapes from six strings.
7/10 Robin Staff review, 14 February 2017
If your ears chance upon easy-goer and finger-picker Joost Dijkema, chances are it will be an altogether day-continuing experience. A guitarist fashioned between the folk picking patterns of Neil Young and the bent outta shape Americana of Six Organs or James Blackshaw, Dijkema makes speedily emotive instrumentals that focus on melodies before upending them for the next, passing between them like service stations in a long journey: it sounds reassuring even as time wisps away from you.
Dijkema has a few different folk fashions and loves them each equally: “Woodpecker” is string-bent mayhem a la Fahey’s steel innovations, but matched with a countrified beat and a gorgeous, Wilco-esque bassline. It comes together like a pop song of American primitivism -- something I’ve really never heard attempted before. “Gold Wing” matches is picking prowess, along with his penchant for emphasis and dynamics, with his wonderfully unrefined and gentle vocal that exists calmly above the song’s rapid guitar movements.
Gorgeous strums and picks make this record easy enough to love, but there are plenty of easter eggs thrown in here, from Dijkema’s stabs at songwriting to the ghostly flourishes of instrumentation he throws in on “Cutting Loose”. It sounds a lot more significant than just a record of man sitting down and playing -- a weaving and weeping story like "To Be Here No More" should appeal to fans of a rich contemporary folk music coming through via Alasdair Roberts.
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