Against All Odds, cynical country rock

By Hancu Louw

Socio-politically aware, cynical and full of melodic Pop-rock energy,
aKING[1]?s second full length album, /Against All Odds/.

The band hailing from what has been referred to as Bellville Rock
City[2], consists of legendary South African musicians, Hunter
Kennedy
and Jaco Venter who are also part of Fokofpolieskar[3], the duo
teamed
up with lead vocalist Laudo Liebenberg and Hennie van Halen to create
a band which has shifted the mentality of South African music fans
and
set new standards for aspiring South African musicians.

The band has a very distinct style, with Laudo Liebenbergs? gruff
voice blasting energetic yet sentimental lyrics over a mix of Classic
and Pop-rock guitar riffs and solid drumming. The bands? first
album, /Dutch Courage /is known for tracks such as /Safe as Houses
[4]/and /Guilty as Sin/. The music-video for/ Safe as Houses/
produced
by local production company, fly on the wall, was an instant success
and reached no 1 on the MK[5] Top 10 Chart.

Their new 11 track album, titled /Against All Odds /takes a slightly
different angle, the lyrics seem to be more direct and cynical than
that of their first album and some tracks have a slight country feel
to them, although as a whole the album does retain the pure energy
and
classic rock style that their first album /Dutch Courage /as loaded
with. The song, /Know Your Bones [6]/encapsulates the essence of the
new album; raw, cynical lyrics with a touch of sentimentality and
light country feel.

Although the new album manages to excite and get heads bobbing it
seems to be missing the initial energy of aKING?s debut, tracks
seem
to blend into one and other through which the listener is drawn into
the cynical, sometimes tongue-in-cheek lyrics describing life through
a South African lens.
aKING has opened up a new section of South African rock,
experimenting with new and innovative styles and concepts. At the end
of 2008, aKING released a three track online EP in collaboration with
Cape Town based production company Ghetto Vibrations[7], Khayelitsha
United Mambaso and the Thokozani Brothers combining African vocals
and
musical influences with Pop-rock and distinct lyrics written by
Hunter
Kennedy and Laudo Liebenberg.

As a whole the album/ Against All Odds /treats aKING fans to a new
side
of the band, showing no sign of stagnation, however some tracks seem
to be repetitive and musically frustrating in comparison to the high
powered nature of the entire first album. The use of new styles and
the same trusted lyrics makes for a great overall package and South
African audiences can be sure to hear more of the bands? lyrics
based on shared life experiences and hard hitting music.

Links:
——
[1] http://www.aking.co.za/index.html
[2] http://www.bellvillerockcity.com/
[3] http://www.fokofpolisiekar.za.net/
[4] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Z5PZJNmZE4
[5] http://beta.mnet.co.za/mk/
[6] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7MhwHHJWbs
[7] http://www.airco.org.za/ghetto-vibrations/

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