Party Like There’s No Tomorrow
The Springbok Nude Girls are back with a new album, the somewhat bizarrely-titled Partypocalypse. Part party, part apocalyptic vision of the end of rock music and perhaps the world, this album will be the last to feature the original band line-up. This album finds the band at the top of their game, with Arno Carsten in fine form rock-scatting his lyrics and Adriaan Brand’s trumpet solos like Herb Albert on crack. It is clear that SNG plan to party like there’s no tomorrow. The new album has been released by specialist rock and metal label Mongrel Records with the band producing and Theo Crous recording and mixing it in his Belville studio.
Once Were Warriors
SNG defined the 1990s rock era in South Africa, they brought the Voëlvry movement to its logical conclusion. I remember seeing them at the Roxy for the first time. I was somewhat skeptical because of the hype that preceded that gig. After the first few songs though, I was a convert, open-mouthed and feeling like my eyebrows had been singed off my face by the wild intensity of their performance. I walked out of that gig weak-kneed and convinced that I had just witnessed the best live band on the planet. This impression was reinforced when I saw SNG open for INXS. Michael Hutchence had presence and an aura that was irresistible, but Arno and co blew INXS off the stage that night. I remember glancing around at the crowd going apeshit-this was the real deal, this band deserved to be world famous.
But it wasn’t to be and instead of world domination, SNG broke up in 2001.
Is Rock Dead?
Carstens in a recent interview, reflected on the future of rock music. He wondered whether we are witnessing the end of the rock heyday, this is particularly relevant given the recent death of Charlie Watts. The album was written before COVID but it has an apocalyptic feel to it-not only for the state of the world, but also rock music. Carstens has lamented the current state of rock, with radio stations not interested in adding rock music to playlists and venues closing down.
Read the interview with Arno here.
Heart of Darkness
The album kicks off with Emerging Submarines a densly-packed sonic onslaught with a chanted chorus, this is SNG at their best, it’s balls to the floor rock that eventually winds down into a plaintiff buzz. The production is shmick and complex. The trumpet solo gives the song a Mariachi feel and I find myself shaking my head at the sonic dissonance of a rock band in full jet-fuel-propelled motion accompanied by a trumpet solo! But it works. It always has.
Best Friend Best Enemies has a Bon Jovi vibe to it, it’s a full on boogie that Jon and Richie would be proud of, if they could get their shit together. Crystal ball is a slower song that explodes into a catchy chorus, destined to be a sing-along when we all get back to gigs again. SA Tan on the Beaches has a britpop feel it’s almost Parklife reimagined for South Africans, as Beachlife. Something about the neighbours has a menacing feel to it, with the relatively recent outbreak of xenophobic attacks in South Africa still top of mind, it is a stark reminder of tensions that still exist within the Rainbow Nation. Buckle Breaks is SNG at their best delivering a full speed ahead rock song which alternates from Red Hot Chili Peppers intensity to wittily infused Beach Boy harmonies!
Robot has a gorgeous melody, it is hard to resist singing along and then you realise that in line with the theme of this album, the lyrics are quite dark “don’t be sad soon we will all be dead”! SNG are going to make sure that we party all the way to Armageddon godammit. There are many other highlights on this thirteen track album, the last song, call me Zombie with its reference to dancing on fiery shores brings to mind the Lord of the Flies and is the perfect ending to the album, given its theme of society breaking down and an apocalyptic future.
It’s The End of the World as we Know it
Rock might be moribund and Armageddon might be upon us, but at Ieast we have a new album from the Springbok Nude Girls and it is definitely a Partycopalypse Now!