Maria

Welcome to the “post-religious cabaret”

Who?

Lyckle De Jong, Katerina Gabriel-Konarovská and Bjorn Barendse are “post-religious cabaret” Maria (it’s probably the first time you’ve ever heard the term – more on that in a moment). Since meeting at The Hague’s Academy of Art in 2016, the trio have been building a unique style of DIY pastoral synthpop that sounds like Vashti Bunyan formed a power-duo with Martin Rev. Yup, that good.

Why Maria?

Their music is a blissed-out counterweight to the world’s total grimness, an outlook informed by the joyfully tranquil rural farmhouse they recorded in. “We called it ‘the pharmhouse’ because of its therapeutic effects,” jokes Lyckle. “It was a magical place… we talked like you would in therapy, cooked, wrote songs and swam in the Rijn during the summer.” Much of their recent ‘Best Of’ album was produced during this golden phase, the serene atmospheres shining through. ‘Ghost In White Clothes (Demo)’ floats gently on the back of a muffled drum machine and jangly guitars, akin to a synthed-out rendition of an early Velvet Underground cut, while ‘Ghost In White Clothes’ is dubbed-out, buccolic electronica that harks back to Young Marble Giants’ skeletally minimalist compositions.

Tell Us More…

So, what in the world does the term “post-religious cabaret” mean? “I grew up without gods and spirituality, and so it was something exotic,” explains Lyckle. “I was drawn to liturgical ways and maybe some innocent blasphemy, and touched by the idea of actually devoting oneself to such speculative power. This devotion never happened, but the hyper-relic aspect of Maria is something I can relate to.” Whatever your faith, it’s time to follow this lot instead, because if you thought ‘Amazing Grace’ was good, just wait for the heavenly synth-rock of ‘Single Guy Dishwasher Song’.

‘Best Of’ is out on South Of North

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Dolls

A Canadian girl with a smart synthpop sound, a strong DIY ethos, and a nod and a wink to Rimmel London