Just Jinjer – Milk and Honies

2010-01-12 16:53
Land of Milk & Honies

Just Jinjer open promisingly with the title track, a pastoral back to basics shout out produced with high-tech panache by Michael Lloyd in Beverly Hills, California (Lloyd also gives "Can I Have More" and the acoustic version of "What he means" his special sheen.) Track two, "Lost 'n Found" is lovely too.

But the subtlety doesn't last. Instead, songwriter and frontman Ard begins hammering his point home to the special school on "My My My". The personal perspective in the song's verses are touching. But just as you're being led in, a big bang chorus, complete with booming drum beats, breaks the mood, and the lyrics spell it out for the slow kids: "From the bottom of our hearts / We should all reach out / There’s a lonely child / That needs us".

Sure, Ard's sentiments are 100% worthy. And sure, there's nothing like a social politics to get South African crowds punching the air. But will they spend their cash on anything other than another beer? "Mr Morgan", written for Tsvangeri of Zimbabwe opposition fame, makes its meaning abundantly clear too, but it’s no more than a reminder of what we already know.

Pity, because most of this album is pretty special, and it’s powerful themes of gratitude and moral regeneration (Milk and Honies, geddit?) are promising ones, given that Just Jinjer have already written one brilliant protest song, full of the ambiguities that make meaning more memorable in the long run. The E.P. closes with a muscular acoustic take on Just Jinjer’s moving call for peace between religions and dogmas, "What He Means". Faith, love, hope, tolerance....

And I'd love to hear more, but complaint-rock is a tricky game to play – even U2 have been known to fall on their face, and Dave Matthews plays the benefits but keeps sexy.

Might Just Jinjer have been better off celebrating their homecoming and filling the gap between releases with a live album that showcased their best material and their world-famous stadium rock powers? Probably, although new possibilities are always more interesting than perfection.

Milk and Honies? Sounds like a party. But playful as the title of this new eight-track E.P. from South African rock's favourite sons is, the subject matter of the record is mostly serious.

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Willem 2011/06/24 12:46 AM
  • Rating:
This is just another South African artist who is heavily underrated, at least over here in Holland. What'smore, nobody has ever heard of him at all....! Which is a shame. His music is refreshing, pure and often catchy. We can't even buy his music over here in Europe. In the meantime I have to rely on RadioWave from Namibia (the BEST station on the web!!) to be able to hear his songs.......
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