Dutch quintet The Klittens capture the highs and lows of small-town teenage life on ‘Herkenbosch’.

Vocal lines fit the rhythm with adolescent awkwardness and veer between sincerity and silliness in a perfect collision.

Lloyd Bolton | Photo Megan Bruinen


‘Herkenbosch’ is a youthful lament that captures the highs and lows of small-town teenage life. Its bittersweet lyrics, which navigate first loves and dead pets, are offset by The Klittens’ buoyant musicianship and playful delivery. Although set in the Dutch village that gives the track its name, we are confronted right off with a New York meet-me-in-the-bathroom guitar line, which perhaps captures the character’s point of view, longing for distant metropolitan excitements only accessible to the on the home cd-player.

Central to the charm of this tune is the group’s openness about such reference points (at one moment reaching further back into New York’s musical history with a break straight out of ‘Marquee Moon’), which are refreshed by their assimilation into the group’s charmingly artless swagger. The song feels like the Proustian rush brought on in revisiting old photos and playlists from the summer of your 15th birthday.

As the band have said of themselves, they set forth ‘untrained but unbothered’, an attitude perfectly suited to the lyrical content of the track, written with a conscious naivety. Lines fit the rhythm with adolescent awkwardness and veer between sincerity and silliness. In this framework, nothing can be taken too seriously, and even the word ‘death’ is rendered almost meaningless by the call and response between singers asking and answering ‘death?… death.’ This song is irresistible, being so wilfully itself and catchy as anything.