Boasting a transcendent synthesis of rock, alternative rock and electro, our very own Zebra & Giraffe currently stand as one of South Africa’s most promising music talents on the local and international scenes. With their distinct sound, they warrant a place in your collection.
They’ve released four albums thus far: Collected Memories (2008), The Knife EP (2010), The Inside (2010) and The Wisest Ones (2012). However (at the risk of expressing my bias as a fan), the hook is definitely in their debut album Collected Memories, marketed and released by Just Music, distributed by Universal Music. This is a moody and cadenced assortment of catchy titles like “The Knife”, “Arm Yourself”, “Fight! Fight! Fight!” and my personal favourite, “Oxymoron”.
Thanks to the debut album’s success, Z & G has obviously grown beloved by many South Africans. I remember attending a live performance in the Botanical Gardens in Cape Town, 2012, where Z &G performed hits from their debut and later albums. The atmosphere was electric, with much head bobbing and singing along as families held their cell phones and inflated zebras and giraffes aloft all about the lawns. The crowd was gripped. With great stage presence, Greg Carlin commanded us.
Carlin, playing rhythm guitar is the face and voice of Z & G. Since their explosive introduction in 2008 a number of members have come and gone from the evolving band. Currently Carlin’s band mates are Alan Shenton, Mike Wright and Stefan Henrico, lead guitarist, drummer and man on bass respectively.
Collected Memories starts off strongly. “The Knife” is the opening track, picked by Carlin himself and it jumpstarts the tone for much of the album – fast paced, grisly and poignant. The music video, perhaps a little on the silly side, still fits in a bizarre, playful way. “Arm Yourself”, the third track, is less hostile and more desperate in tone than the previous tracks. “Fight! Fight! Fight!” is track number five and one of the most distinct of them all. Blow by blow the song comes across as edgy and provocative, with some hauntingly high notes. “Oxymoron”, lucky number seven of the album, is a restless, antagonistic track, crossing lines twice and leaving much to interpretation.
Overall, this album has great production values and replay value, although the anguished lyrics might be a bit much for some listeners (though less dark than The Wisest Ones). Compare with The Killers.