Talented South African rockers overdo it on full-length debut
Though they’ve taken nine years to put out an album, Blk Jks still haven’t
learned one of the most important lessons in music (and life): Just
because you can doesn’t mean you should. On After Robots, the South
African band strives for a sound as vast as the continent it hails
from, and succeeds, but the music’s emotional impact is lost in the
process—drowned in a bombastic, reverb-muddied free-for-all.
musical ability isn’t the problem here; the drumming is complex, the
bass bounding and the guitar blistering, and Blk Jks’ fusion of dreamy
Coldplay-style stadium rock, Floydian psychedelic flourishes and
African pop has immense potential, but the kitchen-sink sonics are
aurally exhausting. There’s simply not enough contrast on this
record—not enough valleys to balance its peaks; no islands on which to
rest your eardrums as you careen through the river-of-consciousness
musical workouts overseen by producer Brandon Curtis (Secret Machines).
Track after track is slathered in layers of horns and guitars and
synths until the songs underneath are no longer discernible. They might
be great, but if these versions are all we have, we’ll never know.
Listen to Blk Jks' After Robots on imeem.