Cortina Whiplash - Queen Hyena

2012-02-07 13:15
The female spotted hyena's clitoris is "sufficiently enlarged", in that it is referred to as a pseudo-penis, capable of erection, urination, copulation and even childbirth. And in the hyena world, the female dominates. That tells you just about everything you need to know about Cortina Whiplash.

Queen Hyena is a seven track, 26-minute introduction to the tempestuous world of Cortina Whiplash. “Whisky on my breath and death on my mind…”

Overseen by award-winning trio Neal Snyman, Peter Pearlson and ex-Urban Creep vocalist Brendan Jury, the production delivers a powerful, clean bite. Queen Hyena sounds old-fashioned and dirty, with a hip, modern swagger that circles Loandi Boersma's whisky-soaked, breathy melodies like a hungry vulture.

Tessa Lily's guitar alternates between hard-hitting crunch and dirty rock grunge, and bluesy wah-pedals and femme fatale ska-reggae. Sjanine Steyn's drums sound neat and punchy, but dangerous and out of control at the same time. Like Nirvana-era Dave Grohl. And, backed by some sweet, Devil's Honey harmonies, Boersma's bluesy vocals feast on throats like a Queen Hyena in a sheep's disguise – that "grew a pair of balls 'cos they're so hard to find."

Lani van der Merwe and Jury, on cello and viola respectively, add an extra dimension to tracks like "To Amber".

Cortina Whiplash sound best when they're letting it all hang out. "Oh for P" kicks off like an old Black Sabbath song. By the time the verse hits, you're on a Highway to Hell, or at least Detroit Rock City - someone hand me a leather jacket and a hit of whisky. "If you can drive, dance or shag to it. Those are the essential rules to a good song," says Loandi.

Cortina Whiplash are three wild Afrikaans chicks from Pretoria. But despite their vintage, stylised Americana sound, nothing seems gimmicky or forced. Things get a bit much on last track "Cardinal Sin", but the sound's believable. They've given the Devil's music a modern twist and it pours from them.

You don't want to mess with these girls. Not unless you want to end up in the trunk of a car, your feet "knock, knocking" against cold, hard steel as you drift along an empty freeway.

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