Multi-gendered European experimental rock collectives with more than six members: so hot right now. Yes, in a world packed to the gills with bands like Caroline and Black Country, New Road – who are now sadly down one lead singer – it’s hard to find space for all the other bands who fit a similar mould. Bands like Personal Trainer.
Personal Trainer are different in one respect: they’re not British, they’re from the Netherlands. This crew is freaky-deaky Dutch, and they’re not afraid to make themselves as freaky-deaky as they can get. That’s easy to hear in the band’s brand new single, ‘Key of Ego’.
Featuring a keyboard setting that I swear only comes on the cheapest Casio models and backing vocals that could easily be traced back to Faith No More’s ‘We Care A Lot’, ‘Key of Ego’ also features droll lead vocals, skittering drums, heavy bass lines, quasi-DJ scratches, and lyrics that celebrate the excitement of bubble gum. It’s a lot to take in, and I don’t think it would be humanly possible for the band to have their collective tongues stuck further into their respective cheeks.
And yet, I kind of love this song. I had a similar experience when I first heard Wet Leg’s ‘Chaise Longue’: I hated it at first, got really turned off by the playful elements that I found unfunny, and got so curiously put off that I had to listen to it again just to make sure I was actually hearing this shit. And then I listened to it again, and then again, and again.
I came around to ‘Chaise Longue’ on about the 10th listen, but it’s taking less on ‘Key of Ego’. It’s an incredibly memorable track, which is honestly the most you can ask for now that we’re in a no-attention-span culture. Personal Trainer no longer sound as though they’re just ripping off Pavement – they’re actually finding their own wacky and diabolical sound, which I have to respect, even if I don’t always get on board with the final product.
‘Key of Ego’ is a song that’s making me think differently about Personal Trainer, a band I never really loved or even liked very much before this. That’s weird, considering this is such a piss-take of a song, but it’s the truth. I’ll be listening up for more Personal Trainer in the future, just to see if they have the balls to keep being this ridiculously/awesome/ridiculously awesome.
Check out the visualiser for ‘Key of Ego’ down below.