From boys to kings.
by Amaal Salie
The signature sound is still there; though something is different.
Something slighter darker. More mature. Despite these differences,
Against all Odds is Aking to the core.
Aking is well known for being part of the group of bands which stem
from Bellville, a Cape Town suburb, also known for producing the
iconic Fokofpolisiekar and subsequently Van Coke Kartel. Unlike their
counterparts, they tapped into the South African English market.
The band was formed when Hunter Kennedy and Jaco Venter of
Fokofpolisiekar fame, teamed up with friends Laudo Liebenberg and
Hennie van Halen.
Kennedy, famed for the poignant Fokofpolisiekar lyrics which
perfectly captured the teenage angst, co-wrote 8 of the Against all
Odds songs with singer Liebenberg. These lyrics translate not only
into wonderfully moving songs, but also into a sort of poetry.
The title track Against all Odds was well received by the South
African public resulting in it climbing up national radio charts all
across the country, rocketing the album into instant recognition. The
upbeat tempo and attractive lyrics resonated somewhat with The Dance,
one of the songs which put the band on the map.
This album, is a far darker effort than their previous Dutch
Courage. But darkness seems to have worked in their favour. The
lyrics as always keen the listeners on their toes, with lines such as
?Anything to dumb to be spoke should be sung? from Know your
Against all Odds caters for everyone. There is the upbeat, Know your
bones, a song about just having a good time as well as the slower,
more introspective and romantic You and I. They have also made several
of the music videos for the album, many which were filmed in Cape
Though the lyrics are undoubtedly one of the bands strengths, it is
also what is sometimes their demise. There is sometimes that feel that
meaning is too deeply steeped in every line and that there is no easy
listening. Attention must be paid to every word, which, for any true
Aking fan is exactly what they expect from their band.
Although they are often criticised for many of their songs sounding
similar, is this similarity which threads the album together so well
and what allows for its fluidity.
This album shows above all else how much this band has grown. They
have grown from being boys who simply rocked Bellville, to men who
have solidified their place in the South African industry, with an
album transcendent of time.