By Ashleigh Morris
Johnny, Dylan, Jesse and Danny Kongos make up the four brother band, Kongos. Sons of legend John Kongos, the brothers are finding their own niche and exploring a multitude of sounds- rock combined with African beats, modern day rhythm and pop. They are experimenting with sounds which have yet to be tried and tested. One would hardly guess that the CD released in South Africa was a rushed affair; it was almost released early due to the high public demand. The success of their previous album as well as the incredible demand for Lunatic shows just what a success these daring, experimental sounds are proving to be.
With no less than four top forty chart hits (as pointed out in Mitchell L Hillmans blog, “Ready To Take On Another Nation”) in South Africa, their newly released album, Lunatic, is no disappointment following their debut album- it sat at number one on Look and Listen’s download chart for three weeks in June and has also been featured in Rolling Stone.
The opening track “Come with me now” immediately entraps the listener and is the start of a musical roller coaster which will not, by any means, be quickly forgotten. The highlights of the album are without doubt the hit song “I’m only joking” as well as Kongos other well known song, “Sex on the radio”. The other two noteworthy songs are “Escape” and “Take me back”.
When listening to the second song on the album, “Sex on the radio”, one cannot help but feel the undeniable urge to get up and jive to the catchy tune. Lyrics which defy today’s clichéd love song mantra and the use of their unusual, tell tale instrument, the accordion, the song makes one eager to keep listening.
The album takes on a whole new sound with the song “Escape”. It slows right down and the dark, African influence becomes even more prominent. Drums, combined with a melodic guitar in the background combine to result in an almost haunting sound. Coupled with the lyrics, one if left utterly moved. This song, contrasted with the opening two songs on the album, show just how easily Kongos can switch between genres of music and yet completely and utterly master them all.
The hit single, “I’m only joking” arrived on the charts with a bang and one can clearly see why. The upbeat song has a mysterious undertone which instantly works its way into the listeners head. The tribal drums which form the main beat of the song clearly highlight the African influence on the bands work and automatically lead the listener to compare the song to ones done by artists such as Muse.
The rollercoaster continues as the album closes with “I won’t forget”- a most fitting track given the enjoyment one experiences from start to finish. A slower song, it is an ending which evokes a sense of nostalgia and longing. In this song one can clearly hear the relationship come through- the brothers complement each other perfectly and their unity is as clear as daylight.
Kongos recorded and produced Lunatic under the name and guidance of their and their father’s record label- Tokoloshe Records. Despite the lack of a big record label, the album is a masterpiece. However, if one is looking for a constant, one sound track; this is not the album to go for.
“Said with such conviction, whether truth or fiction”, one thing is for certain; Kongos second album, Lunatic, is one which caters for many a different tastes.