'Liefde by the dam, by die dam, by die dam / Liefde by the dam, by die dam, by die dam...' says Valiant on the silly but sweet opening track that goes on to joke that 'Die liefde is soos 'n' ryp komkommer / vergeet hom in die sakkie, dan verlep hy sommer'. Valiant Swart only just gets away with this rather dated sort of sokkie jol sound. Witty as it is, it's just not like him!
Mel Botes doesn't seem quite himself either. The Mel on this joint CD (because the two artists worked with completely different musical teams, it's not really a collaboration) has toned down his lightly gothic, slightly camp style, though it emerges on tracks like "Die Blinde Man" and on the joke track "Electric E-mail Lover", which resembles an uncool reject from the Rocky Horror Picture Show OST. It becomes more irritating and embarrassing with each repetition.
Song vir Katryn scriptwriter Jan Scholtz is responsible for the lyrics on "Electric E-mail Lover", and many of the weaker tracks. Nothing much wrong with the words in themselves, but the songs don't work. The lyrics he's provided seem to have been altered by the artists - the sleeve doesn't match what's actually being sung, as on "Liefde is vir Altyd" (arranged and sung by Valiant) and the melodies are, er, verlep.
Mel Botes' "Die Spoke van Gister" and "Bonnie" work as they are, his sincerity and feel for melodic refrain forces you to drop your guard. And the theme tune "Katryn" is both catchy and cool.
But it's Valiant Swart, the master of the melancholic ballad, who really makes this CD work. Touching sensual ballads like "Die Hartseer Stad", " Versugting", "Vlugtelinge" and "Daar's 'n Ster" make @Jinx worth owning, even if you have to use your skip button now and again.
- Jean Barker
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