European hard rock, much like Japanese pop, isn’t often very good. Except in a kitsch so-bad-it’s-good-but-not-good-good-but-funny-good kind of way. That said, European pop, with a few very public examples, often falls a bit short in the quality stakes too. Stereotypes of cheesy awful songs full of cheesy awful lyrics and cheesy awful solos made by men with huge bad hair, tight jeans and white trainers. This last point seems rather redundant now, considering how now big hair and white trainers are now, but hopefully you’ve the same image of ludicrous generic hard rock that I have, and thus we’re OK.
Malkovich are not, unfortunately, one of those European Rock Warrior bands. They’re blending hardcore, punk, metal and jazz, but providing slightly more contemporary proof that apples will rarely fall far from their tree. According to the tone of their press release, Malkovich are equally influenced by the most popular cultural exports of their Dutch homeland (pornography and drugs) but the documents neglects to mention the presence of huge swedges of Edam and Gouda from the equation. Like a bargain basement Refused, the band batter through the same stylistic ballpark but at the Vicarage Road end rather than Emirates Stadium (apologies for the sports reference, music fans.) While the Swedish iconoclasts displayed a stylish disregard for the conventions within any of the genres they hijacked and injected it with a healthy dose of frustrated political fury, Malkovich aren’t anywhere near as inventive, or frustrated. It’s like they’d love to be hair metal, but street at the same time. Guns ‘n’ Roses, at least, had the decency to properly punctuate their contractions.
What you’re left with is some fairly formulaic sing-along hardcore studded with lyrical gems like “There ain’t no party like a Malkoholic party, baby.” It’s proof that Eurovision isn’t solely responsible for the demonisation of European music. Netherlands: Nil Points.