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BIG LOVE BLANKET

BIG LOVE BLANKET

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Personal Trainer transcend their influences in an album brimming with excitable chaos and the need to cram together tunes and lyrical ideas but produced with a clarity that highlights all these qualities. Wrap yourself in a ‘Big Love Blanket.’ Co-produced with Casper van de Lans, Willem Smit, the group’s conductor and cheerleader, rummaged knee-deep into the strongholds that conceived many of the past decade’s quintessential Dutch alternative records. The quest to squeeze out the most potential out of each song might seem somewhat at odds with Personal Trainer’s tumultuous modus operandi (which included a 24-hour concert streamed live at Amsterdam’s legendary Paradiso last year). The conditions Smit and Van de Lans set aren’t all that different: create that feeling of being a little bit out of your depth, a little foolish, and allow some of that silliness to guide the musical direction forward. “Whenever I catch myself doing something premeditated, I wouldn't like it if I just pretended to know it all. I think I would find that incredibly lame.”

Amsterdam's much-tipped seven-piece Personal Trainer return today with their debut album, Big Love Blanket. It follows two excellent singles this year, and a debut EP "Gazebo" that landed mid-pandemic on tastemaker label Holm Front (Walt Disco, Krush Puppies, Sports Team). Big Love Blanket” is aptly titled, a record steeped in the love of making and performing music with your friends. At a still young age Willem is already a strong candidate for the term “indie lifer”, having achieved cult status as a songwriter already in the Netherlands, and the 10 songs here, euphoric and thoughtful in equal measure, tell the tale of that life so far. Most bands should be familiar with the honeymoon phase, those lofty formative stages where creativity blooms as the purest of fruits. The fingers itch, the eyes wander off to rapturous highs, the body trembles electric with creative energy waiting to be unleashed upon unsuspecting onlookers. Unfortunately, the honeymoon phase is usually just that: a phase. Artwork is a detail of a picture by Joni Spaan, that was also featured on the front cover of our record Big Love Blanket.So our opinion? Big Love Blanket is so all over the place that we don’t even know where to begin. But all we know is that we like it. To call it a bit of a strange album is an understatement; it is interesting but it’s hard to pinpoint what the goal of it is. It’s almost difficult to rate because you don’t know what the hell is going on but as we said, we like it. Just have a listen yourself and come to your own conclusion. With Abel Tuinstra’s keys more prominent, ‘Rug Busters’ feels like a LCD Soundsystem pop song on steroids with squelchy electronics, knowing asides (“ If your book is coming along nicely and you’re into Sun, oh ”) and cryptic Fall references (“ If you’re that granny playing the bongos and You finished your first solo album .”) Milk’ is a keys and orchestration lead big ballad with Smit’s giddy vocals approaching a falsetto croon. ‘Key of Ego’ sees Personal Trainer at their most joyfully bombastic, big riffs and synth flourishes, lyrical jibes at machismo (“ Overalls, pheromones, womanise, enterprise/ Give me more baritone/ Pass my testosterone” ) and a chorus with the epic scale of Faith No More’s ‘We Care A Lot’.

Selected items are only available for delivery via the Royal Mail 48® service and other items are available for delivery using this service for a charge.Our live record - the first time all seven members of the Personal Trainer live band got together in a studio and recorded together - gets a physical release! A lovely white disc of vinyl in a nice white inner sleeve in a nice white outer sleeve. All hand-numbered.

Honourable mention must be made of guitarists Franti Maresova and Leon Harms, who both play brilliantly throughout. A particular highlight is ‘Rug Busters’, which features wonderful dual harmonised lead guitars. I get the impression that Franti is less anarchic than the rest; the sensible member of the band if you will. I could of course be wrong. Personal Trainer at the Green Door Store, Brighton 2.3.23 (pic Emma Bouterse) rummaged knee-deep into the strongholds that conceived many of the past decade’s quintessential Dutch alternative records. The quest to squeeze out the most potential out of each song might seem somewhat at odds with Personal Trainer’s tumultuous modus operandi (which included a 24-hour concert streamed live at Amsterdam’s legendary Paradiso in 2021). The conditions Smit and Van de Lans set aren’t all that different: create that feeling of being a little bit out of your depth, a little foolish, and allow some of that silliness to guide the musical direction forward . “Whenever I catch myself doing something premeditated, I wouldn't like it if I just pretended to know it all. I think I would find that incredibly lame.”Guitarist Franti Maresova hovers around the front of the stage for quite a while before the rest of Personal Trainer appear. She’s there for so long in fact that I’m tempted to ask her whether she’s going to be playing the show solo. However, the rest of the band eventually appear and they take the stage to the strains of Astrid Gilberto. Personal Trainer at the Green Door Store, Brighton 2.3.23 (pic Emma Bouterse) Tonight their music has a Jam/Paul Weller feel that I hadn’t noticed before. I clearly hadn’t been paying sufficient attention when they played here last! Sorry guys….. Welly at the Green Door Store, Brighton 2.3.23 (pics Emma Bouterse) They’re still wearing what I guess is their now traditional gym kit. Bassist Jacob is as manic as ever, but this time doesn’t jump down into the audience as he did last time. To be honest, there isn’t room for him to do so as The Hope & Ruin is sold out. However, he does manage to break the strap for his bass during the first song ‘Michelangelo’, and has to borrow one from Personal Trainer. Welly at the Green Door Store, Brighton 2.3.23 (pic Emma Bouterse)

Thank heavens, nobody told Personal Trainer this was all supposed to be temporary. The Amsterdam-based collective seek out sharp-witted ways to prolong the innate joy of being a band just plugging in and playing. Willem Smit, the group’s conductor and cheerleader, started the band as an ultimate love letter to the vibrant scene he himself inhabits. Initially, it meant playing shows in impromptu line-ups, with individuals of varying skill levels, interests and sensibilities. At the hub of this volatile energy, Smit embraced his role as jester in court, performing his own songs like a lost tourist on a karaoke bender. Co-produced with Casper van de Lans, Willem Smit, the group’s conductor and cheerleader, rummaged knee-deep into the strongholds that conceived many of the past decade’s quintessential Dutch alternative records. The quest to squeeze out the most potential out of each song might seem somewhat at odds with Personal Trainer’s tumultuous modus operandi (which included a 24-hour concert streamed live at Amsterdam’s legendary Paradiso last year). The conditions Smit and Van de Lans set aren’t all that different: create that feeling of being a little bit out of your depth, a little foolish, and allow some of that silliness to guide the musical direction forward. “Whenever I catch myself doing something premeditated, I wouldn’t like it if I just pretended to know it all. I think I would find that incredibly lame.” Most bands should be familiar with the honeymoon phase, those lofty formative stages where creativity blooms as the purest of fruits. The fingers itch, the eyes wander off to rapturous highs, the body trembles electric with creative energy waiting to be unleashed upon unsuspecting onlookers. Unfortunately, the honeymoon phase is usually just that: a phase. After each landmark or hurdle you clear, things tend to get more and more convoluted. Those impulsive why nots can sour into routines and procrastinations between.Amsterdam's much-tipped seven-piece Personal Trainer return today with news that their debut album, "Big Love Blanket", is landing on November 4th. It follows two excellent singles this year, and a debut EP "Gazebo" that landed mid-pandemic on tastemaker label Holm Front (Walt Disco, Krush Puppies, Sports Team). Willem Smit started the band as an ultimate love letter to the vibrant scene he himself inhabits. Initially, it meant playing shows in impromptu lineups, with individuals of varying skill levels, interests and sensibilities. At the hub of this volatile energy, Smit embraced his role as jester in court, performing his own songs like a lost tourist on a karaoke bender. Amsterdam’s much-tipped seven-piece Personal Trainer return today with news that their debut album, “Big Love Blanket”, is landing on November 4th. It follows two excellent singles this year, and a debut EP “Gazebo” that landed mid-pandemic on tastemaker label Holm Front (Walt Disco, Krush Puppies, Sports Team).



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