With Foals and Vampire Weekend having catapulted a use of tribal Africans rhythms to mainstream success, the timing of BLK JKS’
(pronounced like the opposite of Fruit Salads) debut couldn’t be better.
The South African foursome claim to have set out to present a carefree notion of African musicianship to a wider audience,
BLK JK which they do, but with angelic and devilish consequences.
There are times on ‘After Robots’ where the free flowing, almost jazzy grooves are hypnotic and joyous to listen to, especially on ‘Lakeside’ and ‘Taxidermy’.
But there are also moments where freeform turns into proggy, overlong nonsense and you tune out.
Charming though ‘After Robots’ is, the lack of a more cutthroat approach makes this something of hit and miss.
Simon resembles a young Thurston Moore, and equally plays his guitar like the Sonic Youth main brain.
When he’s not crunching out a sound beyond his one distorted instrument he contrasts Akiko’s excitable giggles with calm silence.
He considers every question put to him before giving an answer and kindly offers to help distribute future issues of Loud And Quiet.
In many ways – tall and tiny, patient and extroverted – Simon and Akiko are polar opposites, and yet they’ve managed to make one hell of a focussed, visceral grunge album.
‘Crime of Love’ – 12 tracks high by an offal-less 25 minutes wide – is only more fun than it is direct.
A short, swift burr of distorted guitars and female J-Pop vocals recorded through shitty microphones,
BLK JK it’s a thrash metal audio diary extremely personal to the band. Too personal, even, for Akiko to describe in detail.
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