Amsterdam’s much-tipped seven-piece Personal Trainer return today with news that their debut album, “Big Love Blanket” (Pre-order HERE), is landing on November 4th. It follows two excellent singles this year, and a debut EP “Gazebo” that landed mid-pandemic on tastemaker label Holm Front (Walt Disco, Krush Puppies, Sports Team).
The ten tracks of “Big Love Blanket” display a playful diversity of sounds and influences, landing on one all of their own that has been championed as “rapturously fun” by Ones To Watch, “incredibly catchy indie-led pop” by Record Of The Day, “curious and endearing” by Steve Lamacq, “remarkable” by CLASH and even compared to LCD Soundsystem by Marc Riley. The first song to be released ahead of the album, “Key Of Ego”, was one of NME’s New Bangers too, and rightly so.
Personal Trainer today also share a live favourite, “The Lazer”, a song that has undergone several reinventions across the band’s lifespan and lands today in its final, celebratory state.
Willem Smit says of their new single: “The Lazer” was one of the first songs we ever wrote together a band. To me “The Lazer” always felt like my big Personal Trainer anthem. We used to have this shifting line-up situation where I didn’t want to rehearse much, so I wanted to make songs that were very easy to play. “Can you play an A chord and a D chord? Do you want to be in my band?” was the vibe. And that’s “The Lazer.”
It’s easily the oldest song on the record, most trainers hate it – that’s probably because we play it nearly every show, and we played it for an hour straight during our 24-hour show last year – but it always stuck with me. It feels like a logical decision to put it on our first long record.”
“The Lazer” is paired to a DIY video, self-recorded at Willem and his girlfriend’s house, with Willem in front of “the wall”, upon which eagle-eyed PT fans will see mounted all sorts of trinkets and memories from the band so far, including the artwork for all their singles, the latest for “The Lazer” being a drawing of a band playing a live show that Willem scribbled down himself when he was little. As the saying goes, some are born to do it.
“The Lazer”, as with the rest of “Big Love Blanket”, was co-produced by regular collaborator Casper van der Lans and WIllem himself.
Personal Trainer are the brainchild of Willem Smit, the band’s front man and a multi-instrumentalist whose early talents saw his last band, Canshaker Pi, record with Stephen Malkmus while still teenagers. Personal Trainer began as an attempt to bottle the fervent energy of Amsterdam’s indie scene and to allow for something entirely unpredictable on stage and in the studio – an ever-shifting line-up of friends and peers playing together with only one rule: there are no rules.
The band, already known for their memorable live shows, have announced a clutch of UK and EU dates, and then a tour support to De Staat in the Netherlands across December, to promote the record.
Most bands should be familiar with the honeymoon phase, those lofty formative stages where creativity blooms as the purest of fruits. The fingers itch, the eyes wander off to rapturous highs, the body trembles electric with creative energy waiting to be unleashed upon unsuspecting onlookers. Unfortunately, the honeymoon phase is usually just that: a phase. After each landmark or hurdle you clear, things tend to get more and more convoluted. Those impulsive why not’s can sour into routines and lots of contemplation in between said routines.
Thank heavens, nobody told indie rock crusaders Personal Trainer this was all supposed to be temporary. The Amsterdam-based collective seek out sharp-witted ways to prolong the innate joy of being a band just plugging in and playing. Willem Smit, the group’s conductor and cheerleader, started the band as an ultimate love letter to the vibrant scene he himself inhabits. Initially, it meant playing shows in impromptu lineups, with individuals of varying skill levels, interests and sensibilities. At the hub of this volatile energy, Smit embraced his role as jester in court, performing his own songs like a lost tourist on a karaoke bender.
This enthusiasm was reciprocal, as bands ranging from Pip Blom, Bull, Home Counties, The Klittens to Global Charming – as well as Smit’s other outfits Canshaker Pi and Steve French – frequently rubbed elbows on stage. Personal Trainer shows became rousing rituals, with songs that more or less sounded like all your favorite indie rock luminaries jam-packed into big-beaming pop psalms. The delirium of playing “The Lazer” for the umpteenth time would perpetually elevate to religious fervor. Understandably so: it’s a song that attacks things like restlessness, boredom, drudgery or shame with the stubbornness of a kamikaze-artist.
Catch Personal Trainer headlining on the following dates:
2 The Crescent, York
3 The Windmill, London
16 L’International, Paris
17 Botanique, Brussels *
24 Hedon, Zwolle *
26 Ooterpoort, Groningen *
30 Maassilo, Rotterdam *
2 Paard, Den Haag *
8 Tivolivredenburg, Utrecht *
10 :013, Tilburg *
13 Muziekgieterij, Maastricht *
16 Doornroosje, Nijmegen *
17 Doornroosje, Nijmegen *
18 Doornroosje, Nijmegen *
* w/De Staat