Band of the Day

2012.02.12

The Narcoleptic Dancers

Breezy confections of sweet vocals and melodic hooks from a male/female duo
Made myself a pepper plane was floating well until the rain, it's not so evident at all.
lyrics from Not Evident

The Narcoleptic Dancers are Anton Louis Jr. and Melody Van Kappers. Ostensibly half-siblings who share the same father, Dutch soccer star Johnny Van Kappers, the bandmates met at a gathering for Van Kappers' family after the 970s soccer player had been diagnosed with cancer. Van Kappers fathered Louis Jr. while playing in St. Etienne, France in the late 70s, while Melody Van Kappers was the fruit of his marriage to a Dutch musician in the late 80s. Melody Van Kappers and Louis Jr. met again a year later at Johnny Van Kappers funeral, and decided to start a band together. The resulting project paired Van Kappers sweetly breathy vocal delivery with Louis Jr.'s production skills. Their music darts effortlessly between folk and electronic pop, capturing memorable melodies along the way. Their debut EP Not Evident was released in 2010 while the group first album Never Sleep was released in 2011 on Bleepmachine & Capitaine Plouf records.

If you were wondering which Band of the Day band wins the “most unlikely back story” contest, wonder no longer, it's the Narcoleptic Dancers. According to the duo's website, the band is made up of half-siblings Melody Van Kappers and Anton Louis Jr.. They share the father Johnny Van Kappers, a famed Dutch soccer star (though I couldn't find anything about him on the Internet) who fathered Louis Jr. during a brief fling in Saint-Etienne, France in the late 70s, and married Melody's mother, a Dutch woman, 10 years later. The half-siblings only met when Van Kappers (nicknamed “the Narcoleptic Dancer” by the Dutch sports press) was diagnosed with a leg tumor and gathered all his family together, then met again a year later at his funeral.

Whether this story is factual or creative PR fiction, it does reflect the sweetness of the band. The Narcoleptic Dancers debut album Never Sleep is filled with folky, often electro-pop leaning confections. The songs go down easy thanks to Melody Van Kappers breathy, honeyed delivery, and the duo's knack for pretty melodic hooks, like French electronic group Air mixed with Belle and Sebastian's twee sensibility. At just two and a half minutes, “Not Evident” is a combination of gentle handclaps, bubbling acoustic guitar and Van Kappers endearing vocals. Moving from lovely wordless refrains to equally catchy lines, it's hard not be won over by the adorableness. “Rastakraut” is built on a simple keyboard line and Van Kappers gorgeous vocals with their touch of melancholy. It sounds completely effortless, like they captured the essence of a spring day and transformed it into music. The album's nine other tracks largely evoke the same feelings thanks to the duo's easy-going production and Van Kapper's gorgeous vocals. Their sound may score too high on the adorable scale for some, but fans of airy pop will revel in their delicate textures and remarkable melodic sense.