BLK JKS – Mystery EP [album review]

by Woody on December 29, 2008


I had the opportunity to spend some time with the music of BLK JKS, recently signed to the fabulous Secretly Canadian label (sister label of Jagjaguwar) and set to release its debut EP in early March. The band hails from Johannesburg, South Africa, while the EP is produced by Brandon Curtis of the Secret Machines – no small coincidence as this music sounds like an African-tinged version of the band.

Their Myspace page includes the Brazilian Girls in its lists of influences, alongside (and I love this) African beer, herbs and pickled fruit!‚  To this list they may want to add the bands Living Color, TV On The Radio and even a little My Bloody Valentine as there is some good old-fashioned shoegazing going on these tracks.‚  Mix it all up and you have a heavy dose of African-psych music.

This is a somewhat polished production of four rather tight tracks, multi-looped to incorporate a variety of African drum beat, harmonizing vocals, fuzzy guitar riffs, heavy metal percussion, whistles and numerous other sound effects.‚  There are tempo changes within each track and even some reggae-like syncopation.‚  The end result is an interesting collage of sounds and reverb that create a hazy, submerged feel.‚  If Pet Sounds was psychedelics for the beach, this band swims you out and drops you deep below the surface, only to resurface later on.

Look, this isn’t an easy listen the first few times through.‚  In fact, many may not get around to ever truly enjoying this music, but like so many other interesting alternative bands incorporating multi-cultural and international spice, such as Yeasayer and even the aforementioned TV On The Radio, patience can be rewarding.‚  Throw on the headphones, throw back some African beer (I’m sure you have some in the fridge) and allow the senses take over.‚  The first track, “Lakeside,” is a good place to start.

Website | MySpace | Secretly Canadian

BLK JKS – Lakeside

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dmytro December 29, 2008 at 11:30 am

I couldn’t download their EP from zshare service. I don’t know, why. Maybe, it’s because I’m from Ukraine. Does anybody can help me to listen to the music of BLK JKS?

DBT Chicago December 30, 2008 at 11:28 am

good pick. they rock.

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