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BLK JKS: "After Robots"

img  Tobias

In perhaps the most widely publicized world-music-steeped indie thingamajig since Dengue Fever, African prog-rockers BLK JKS have hired themselves the right PR guns to babble on their behalf into the CMJ void. Thus, unless the world ends tomorrow in a ball of fire, you'll soon enough be hearing about them via oddball placements on hip cable shows, not that they haven't earned it after 9 years of effort, which recently put them on festival bills from here to Morocco.

The music itself -- sometimes tribal-celebratory ("Molalatladi"), sometimes Radiohead-ishly forlorn ("Standby"), sometimes Talking Heads-bug-eyed ("Lakeside") -- is a great tumbleweed of sound that can occasionally appear technically incoherent, which has won them comparisons to Mars Volta (and System of a Down as of right now), but that's actually sort of a knock to BLK JKS, whose instrumental abilities could probably handle most of what Return To Forever ever did in the studio. It isn't party-friendly, more a party on its own, evoking visions of crowds spilling into streets after work and play and everything in between, microcosmic in the ways that it wordlessly describes life in Johannesburg.

Hopefully the band doesn't end up losing their bizarre vibe by trying to compete with established nu-proggers -- for now, as the planet quizzically tilts its head at this crew and vice versa, all is pretty much right.

By Eric Saeger

Homepage: BLK JKS
Homepage: Secretly Canadian Records

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