4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: After Robots (Audio CD)
Although I concede that comparisons with TV On The Radio
are not entirely unwarranted, BLK JKS, a four-piece
hailing from Johannesburg, have a distinctive voice
pretty much all their own (certainly insofar as the
current South African music scene is concerned).
Their debut album 'After Robots' is a little rough
around the edges but what it lacks in production
quality it more than makes up for in raw energy.
The nine tracks sound as though they were assembled
in one take with little additional embellishment.
The band are Lindani Buthelezi (Guitar/Vocals);
Mpumi Mcata (Guitar); Molefi Makananise (Bass)
and Tshepang Ramoba (Drums). Together they are
a tightly efficient ensemble who are not afraid
to let loose from time to time with flurries of
Mr Buthelezi is a persuasive front-man with a strong
moody voice which projects the essentially melancholy
nature of the music with confident aplomb.
The compositional structures are densely layered
and rhythmically complex. 'Skeletons' is a particularly
fine example of their craft. A zany piece of deconstructed
ska saturated with jangling guitar, clattering percussion
and abrasive echoing brass. Marvelous mayhem.
'Banna Ba Modimo' also makes a strong statement.
Toledo meets Tunis in prog-wonderland. There are so
many ideas thrown into the pot it is a wonder that
it doesn't boil over and blow up the stove!
Mr Ramoba's focussed drumming and fierce determination
to keep the show on the road is truly admirable.
'Kwa Nqingetje' is a particular favorite. An atmospheric
piece of minor-key night-music shot through with eerie
disembodied guitar effects and a strangely haunting vocal.
The full-on calamitous central section is a powerfully
realised idea; a strong statement before the piece slips away
into discordant uncertainty in the quasi-psychedelic coda.
Final track 'Tselane' brings the album to a rousing acoustic close.
Rootsy, folksy and captivating in its earthy stripped-down simplicity.
BLK JKS first showing is a very fine affair.