Photo: Jantina Talsma / Press

TESSEL — Family Time

Just when we needed a breeze of warm European cool to lift us from our cold Winter slumber, new Dutch quartet TESSEL have delivered in abundance. “Family Time” is the band’s debut release on PIAS Recordings and if you’re a fan of the likes of Real Estate, Beach Fossils, and Mac DeMarco, then you’ll love these guys.

Based in Utrecht, TESSEL consists of Levi Oostermeijer (lead vocals and guitar), Joshua Bredow (guitar), Jens Wierckx (drums and backing vocals), and Thijs van Zutphen (bass and backing vocals). The four-piece have already started building a following with acclaimed support slots with Ten Fé and Waltzburg, as well as an appearance at Rotterdam’s cross-art festival Motel Mozaïque. Now, they’re taking their sound to a global audience.

The opening of “Family Time” offers a form of sheer escapism. With its light, jangly guitars and satisfyingly smooth chord sequences, you can’t help but visualize the sun glowing on your skin while embracing all different kinds of people enjoying one another’s company — oh, how we miss those days.

However, don’t be deceived just yet. The track’s airy sound belies a more morose message, as the band elaborate in a press release: “The song tells a story of a person who has become entangled in the image of ‘the perfect life.’ Just when everything seems to be right: a family, a beautiful car in the driveway, a dinner with the family, the person decides to flee, because ‘All I ever know, great moments will pass.’”

This lyrical message undoubtedly gives the track an even greater pull of appeal. Like DeMarco often does so well, the sound may be cozy and inviting, but the real meaning may cause you to stop and think a little more than you may anticipate.

The video for the track, created with filmmaker Casper Buijtendijk, breathes visual life into the pastel tones of the song. It’s nostalgic, fun, and ever more playful as the track proceeds, while also feeling distinctly European in a unique way — especially at the guitar solo where some appealingly peculiar Dutch moves are exhibited.

“Family Time” is a noteworthy first offering from TESSEL. Combining a beachy sound in contrast to more thought-provoking lyrics, it’s a cleverly written pop song that might just brighten up your day.