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9 May 2017

Apartment One "Open House" 1970 Dutch Psych Rock

 Apartment One  "Open House" 1970 Dutch Psych Rock
A vinyl reissue of the sole album by this Dutch underground band, which was originally released in 1971 by Pink Elephant. On offer is driving hard prog/psych rock, featuring lots of tricky keyboards and howling guitars with fuzz and lots of echo. The music brings to mind other Dutch bands s.a. Cosmic Dealer, and the later outings of Q65 and The Outsiders……………… 

Rock band from Hilversum, founded in 1967 under the name Serpentine. The first line-up lasted until 1969 and consisted of: Peter van der Sande (v, g, ex-Sexton Five, Highschool Five, Smokey and Kingbees), Rob Morel (b, ex-Dean Allen Set), Ralf Dragstra (o, p, trb, ex-Dean Allen Set), Bob de Laat (s, ex-Dean Allen Set), Patrick Verboom (tr), Frank van Tijn (v, dr, to OPMC) and Dick Pels (g, ex-Guardians, to Dean Allen Set). In 1969, Peter left the group temporarily. Serpentine started accompanying Amos Tamela (ex-Mustang Soul) and Sandra Reemer. 

Peter then recorded a single for Polydor with his new group Blech, featuring: Fije Jasky (dr), Ton Jasky (b), Theo Andriessen (p), Ad le Conte (o). Nevertheless, the single was released under the name Serpentine, because Peter had soon returned to his old band. The line-up was then narrowed down to: Peter van der Sande (v, b), Onno Lopulalan (g), Frank van Tijn (v, dr) and Ralf Dragstra (o, p). Band members also did a lot of session work - for California License, Big Boy & Bouncers and OPMC, amongst others. On account of legal reasons, later records were released under the moniker Apartment One. Serpentine fell apart in 1970, Peter joined Focus. 

“Open House” released through Pink Elephant label, and it’s a mixture of prog psych rock with some blues and country references……………… 
Apartment 1 (or Apartment One as noted on the label itself) is a straightforward late psych / early hard rock record. Sounds more like what was happening with their fellow countrymen in the 60s Dutch scene with albums from Cosmic Dealer, The Outsiders, and Q65. Plenty of excellent fuzz guitar and soloing to enjoy here. All on top of some splendid older organ sounds. The opening tracks on each side are instrumental, and represent the best material on the album. The vocals are in machismo English - with a gospel tinge. As such, it reminds me of the vast bone yard of US post psych albums from 1970 on labels like Paramount, ABC, Verve, Rare Earth, and Mercury……by…..ashratom ……. 

Apartment One is a Dutch rock band from Hilversum (Noord-Holland), formed in the mid-60’s and existed in 1967 to 1972. During this time, the musicians recorded and released just one studio album, Open House. It was published in 1971 by the record company Pink Elephant. 
The album opens with a magnificent instrumental thing called Step Inside, which is performed in the manner of the great British proto-prog team at that time and combines a sharp electric guitar and a scattering of various keyboards from the organ to the harpsichord. Encouraged by the similar impulse of the musicians, you hope to continue, but in the future they, unfortunately, fall into rustic heavy psychedelia with blues notes and rather banal vocal melodies. All the compositions do not exceed 4 minutes and are made rather clumsy, although the noble guitar will still flash here and there. There are several instrumentals worthy of attention, such as Dragstream with non-spinning guitar-key soloing, but the members of the band clearly in their music look more likely in the late 60’s than in the early 70’s. There is also a strong influence of rhythm blues and hard rock, as well as bit and pop music of that time. Well, most importantly - the melody is not remembered at all, whatever one may say, but there is too much compulsive vocals. Therefore, I can not evaluate this record very high. The material is rather weak. Several musicians from this composition later played in another Dutch band O.P.M.C. It is worth noting that the CD was never published on CD…………… 

The Apartment One 
*Frank Van Tijn - Drums, Vocals 
*Peter Van Der Sande - Vocals, Guitar, Cello, Organ, Bass 
*Bob De Laat - Saxophone 
*Dick Pels - Guitar 
*Patrick Verboom - Trumpet 
*Ralf Dragstra - Keyboards, Trombone 
*Rob Morel - Bass 
*Onny Lopulalan - Guitar 

Written-By – O. Lopulalan*, R. Dragstra* 
A2 Fuzz Buzz 3:00 
A3 Eternal Moralist 3:10 
A4 Dictionary 2:30 
A5 Summer Term 3:52 
B1 Dragstream 
Written-By – O. Lopulalan*, R. Dragstra* 
B2 Like A Queen 3:15 
B3 Going Up Town 3:11 
B4 Try And Bye A Try 3:17 
B5 What’s Going On 3:40 

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