Review of What I Say
Sometimes you find a band that instantly, without even trying, makes you want to book a ticket to the next available festival (no matter where); a band that makes you tap your feet or bob your head a bit. Stone Jets is that band.
Cape Town band, Stone Jets, formed in 2013, and has since released two EPs, River (2014) and What I Say (2016). They have quickly made a name for themselves across South Africa through numerous live shows, festival performances and performing alongside legends like Hugh Masekela and Majozi.
The 3-piece’s latest EP (What I Say) is a compilation of easy-to-listen-to music. The lead singer, Given Nkanyane’s, soulful voice offers effortless tunes, accompanied by uplifting kwela-type sounds of guitars and drums that just want to make you dance. Each track leads the listener down a trail of thoughts as you get the feeling that the lyrics are filled with the songwriter’s memories and experiences.
“We had something good…”
Although Nkanyane sings seemingly cheerfully, the lyrics on the opening track Something Good ostensibly focuses on a strenuous relationship that has obviously resulted in some heartbreak. The rhythm and melody, however, paints a different picture. Just like in the title track, the catchy guitar and drum patterns establish a solid, more up-tempo atmosphere.
Although the lyrics are somewhat sad, you can’t help but enjoy the electrifying guitar and drums. It carries on to the second track, which is also the title track, What I Say. The upbeat music and rhymes that backs the catchy lyrics give the song a feel-good element (think Paul Simon’s Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes).
“You just got to believe…”
“I don’t want to go and I don’t want to stay…”
On the fourth track, Take A Look At Me, the band introduces an extra instrument for the first time through talented pianist Melissa van der Spuy’s piano playing. It blends in perfectly well with the band’s other instruments, and bring a different feel to the EP.
“I knew that you would never take me back…”
The soulful track Feeling Good has a more melancholy and somber feel and, contrasting to the band’s overall happy sound, the track’s emotional and delicate elements showcase the band’s fragile side. Just like in Take a Look at Me, Nkanyane’s clear voice and effortless vocal ability carriers the song.
Different in flow, the tracks Hurricane and Imagine has a more a funky, upbeat atmosphere with heavier rhythms. Definitely the two festival hits!
With softer acoustic sounds and Nkanyane’s entrancing and captivating vocals, the last track Telegraph finally confirms that the Stone Jets have a sensitive and almost romantic side.
The collection of tracks all carry the band’s ostensible signature: uplifting indie-kwela guitars, prominent drumming and rhythms that constantly want to make you dance.
Ultimately a great collection of tracks, and a band to keep an eye on over the next few years.