Blk Jks – Mystery EP
Before they left the country, hardly a week went by without Joburg’s Blk Jks being called ‘South Africa’s new best thing’ in some publication or other. It began to get tedious when, after eight years of big promises and the delivery of one measly five track EP, Blk Jks seemed to be going nowhere fast.
In swooped New York label Secretly Canadian and rescued them from another year playing to fifty people at the Bohemian bar in Joburg. Within six months they had moved to New York, released another, infinitely superior EP produced by Brandon Curtis of the Secret Machines, and when you read this the band will be halfway through a full UK Tour. Mystery EP delivers on its name, with opening track Lakeside a bizarre yet thrilling blend of psychedelic rock and classic taxi-rank whistles.
The EP may be just three tracks long, but it contains evidence of a band finally beginning to deliver on the expectation that had begun to be an albatross around their necks. It is only a shame the band had to leave their home to find themselves.
Listen to tracks from Mystery EP on www.myspace.com/blkjks
Doves – Kingdom of Rust
It must be tempting at times for a band of Doves’ mastery to just get over themselves and ‘do a Coldplay’. Their new album, Kingdom of Rust, has in its title track all the invention, melody and infectiousness of an entire Coldplay album.
I listened to Coldplay’s latest album straight after Kingdom; it felt like following a sip of single malt with a gulp of Autumn Harvest Crackling. But as with their debut The Last Broadcast and its follow up Some Cities – both of which reached number 1 in the UK – this album makes the point that music, like life, is better complicated.
The album’s title track has the most absurdly moreish riff in its chorus; Winter Hill is the best song about a hill since Coldplay’s Violet Hill, and possibly the best hill song ever; and the opening track Jetstream builds from nowhere into a controlled frenzy that on its own would be worth the full album price. Third albums are meant to be where bands falter. Apparently, nobody told Doves.