Monday, 27 February 2012

Spoek Mathambo blitzes the American pop canon on 'Father Creeper'

First published in Loud And Quiet

Spoek Mathambo
Father Creeper 
Sub Pop

When Vampire Weekend and Fool's Gold take inspiration from distant climes, we’re told the results have 'African rhythms' or 'Afropop style'. It’s a typically insensitive catch-all for the cultural output of a billion people in 54 countries – but what if the situation was reversed? Spoek Mathambo, South African purveyor of 'township tech', uses American pop, rock and R&B like crayons, scribbling crunchy guitars over booty bass or accented rap over kwaito beats as he grapples with the un-sunny themes of sex and death. Occasionally the bewildering juxtaposition falls in sync (creepy two-part closer 'Grave', for instance) but it's a jarring ride as lyrics about jiggling your jelly hover disconcertingly over emo-ish guitars, while Mathambo's sing-rapping follows its own fancy in matters of pitch and key. Whether that’s intentional is hard to deduce; either way Father Creeper is essential listening if you think you know African music.

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