Frans Karoo has a way of spinning unusual tales from very little and making them a whole lot more. His debut album, Braambos Radio, has been a long time coming – indeed most of the tracks have been built up gradually over the years alongside songwriter CJ Bierman.
For the most part they were penned purely with riff and melody in mind. Most lyrical content didn’t come until the week of recording – and it’s just that process which lends itself so perfectly to Frans Karoo’s elusive sound.
Built on the back of bluesy, rocky, country-ish melodies and a monotone Bob Dylan-esque vocal line, Karoo finds place and space within his sound which makes his debut so facinating. From the brooding atmospheric strains of opener “Skape”, the bluesy percussive progression of “Die Breils”, to the breakneck riffage of “Dronk In Groot Marico”, and the full bodied acoustics of “What Is ’n Huis?”, Karoo exhibits his versatility as an artist as well as a defined commitment to the unsual.
Beneath the poetic cadence of his vocals, stories of a stilted relationship to God, the reality of death, what makes a home, being blind to your own mistakes, and mutual human support unspool. Often beneath the gauzy layer of inadvertnent truth, combined with a healthy dose of imagination. Karoo’s fascinating, if lengthly, debut comes as a unique and unusual ode to the strangeness of the world at large.
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Feature pic supplied by artist