Shy Guevaras - We Owe You One

2008-07-02 17:47
Not that they come that close to capturing the raw power of the Nirvana singer, of course, but it’s clear what these guys are aiming for. And herein lies the problem with much of the hard rock coming out of South Africa: imagination and innovation tends to fly out the window when artists allow their influences to weigh so heavily on their sleeves that it becomes a straightjacket. Shy Guevaras are guilty of this, and inevitably they come off second best each time.

These songs of regret, loss and disillusionment are rife with crunchy riffs and venomous vocals that recall a host of US modern rock bands such as Live, Creed and Fuel who used to dominate the charts a few years ago. So not only is there a whiff of 1999 about We Owe You One, it’s as if it arrived in 2008 via a time capsule.

Still, single “Let’s Go” has the potential to help the band get some radio airplay due to it’s sexy bassline and cathartic chorus but then they shoot themselves in the foot with such throwaway lyrics as “Am I messed up on drugs? Am I messed in my head? I just don’t know”. It’s hard to care about a tortured soul when he can’t be bothered to articulate his dilemma persuasively.

Only when they slow things down, as on “No Clue” and closer “Enemy”, with a spine-chilling female backing vocal courtesy of Lark’s Inge Beckmann, do Shy Guevaras hint at the ability to make a direct and lasting connection.

- Shaheema Barodien

Never before has there been a more misleading band name. These entirely unreserved Guevaras tear through their songs as if the ghost of Kurt Cobain himself was exorcising his demons through their riotous rock anthems.

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