You'll hear musical echoes of The Police's 80s classic "Every Breath You Take" on the opening track, "Jou Asem" and of europop in the vocal delay echo effects that crop up now and again, and reliable drums that keep on ticking through the verses and chorus while Theun's deep voice professes love in romantic images involving seas and sands and so on.
The 80s is also present in the inclusion of the brilliant Johannes Kerkorrel-penned ode to Hillbrow (written in days when it was significantly safer to live there). But it's an anti-Apartheid classic that's survived the political meaning it had in its time. Unfortunately, it doesn't survive the lifeless rendition that Theuns dishes up here, with cheesy little upbeat kwela riff and none of the sparse sincerity of the original (get hold of the Gereformeerde Blues Band version, on the recently re-released Eet Kreef CD.)
But aside from this, Jordaan deserves congratulations. This album is pretty stuff. The music is smoothly arranged with a faintly bluesy, radio-friendly sound, and the lyrics are infused with a mournful love of South Africa that instantly creates an appealing kinship.
Great musicians make all the difference of course. The trio of Barry Van Zyl, Anton L'Amour, and Concord Nkabinde, together with other strong collaborators, deliver a tight but subtle backing. Anton L'Amour produces unpretentiously.
The result is an album that, while not massively original, certainly holds its own as a South African Afrikaans answer to Chris Rea, or Valiant Swart for Cinema fans.
- Jean Barker
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