Make Overs: Keeping critics on their toes
Make Overs - IV (KRNGY)
As I mentioned in my recent review of the Make Overs third album Centipede-sing-a-long, this band is making albums so quick – four in a little over two years – with a fifth to come before the end of the year, that it's hard for the critics to keep up.
Centipede-sing-a-long was a high-water mark for the band – a rollicking punk ride embellished with tinges of nuggety rock 'n roll, disco beats, ambient soundscapes and psychedelic whirlpools of sound.
IV was released by the band as a free download a mere couple of months since they dropped Centipede-sing-a-long, and features black and white artwork with some rather colourful characters on it.
The whole thing has the feel of a quickly knocked off bootleg or fan freebee, but when you put it on your hi-fi, you will be sternly reminded that the Make Overs don't do anything half-assed.
The album opens with Step Into My Office, a four and a half-minute groove, which makes it almost the longest track the band has ever recorded, with most songs cracking in between the one-minute and two-minute mark.
It's an intriguing opening, with the music being a lot less abrasive than we have come to expect from the Make Overs.
Guitarist Andreas Schönfeldt's delivery is almost hip-hop in aesthetic and the sonic touchstones are definitely Sonic Nurse era Sonic Youth and early Tricky.
In fact, the song reminds me of the duo's early band, which was dubbed PoodlePiss.
Lift Off is a rock juggernaut of a song; all grimy rock riffage and shouty vocals, a torrent of noise that will blow your hair back and put some fire back in your life.
The digital beat of Hands Up is trashy in aesthetic, bringing the band into a new world of sound but its exuberance is addictive and is easily one of my favourite songs on the album.
Twisting, Turning is again reminiscent of Sonic Youth, but this time the song has a Daydream Nation-feel, rather than the later era of New York's finest punk rockers.
Fit In is reminiscent of early Talking Heads, particularly Psycho Killer and only halfway through this album I am starting to get the idea that Make Overs really is beginning to have some fun on this album.
It may be loaded with killer songs, but it is presenting a very playful side of the Make Overs, a side that has not been as evident on previous albums.
Too Far is a great straight-ahead pop-punk song with vocals from drummer Martinique Pelser, while Like That has a nice distorted squelchy electronic beat to drive it.
It is similar in form to Hands Up and these two songs hopefully signify a new area of exploration for the Make Overs.
The album closer, Campfires, is officially the Make Overs's longest song, clocking in at just short of five and a half minutes.
It's a slow groove with some great guitar work, and is similar to opener Step Into My Office, bringing this delightful little album from the Make Overs full circle.
IV may not be the Make Overs's best album – I think Centipede-sing-a-long takes that title – but it offers up the sound of a band pushing itself in new directions.
And for that reason it may just be the Make Overs album I love the most and will get the most satisfaction out of.
One gets the sense that the band's next album is going to change South African rock as we know it, and this free offering might be the clues to just where the Make Overs are heading.
I, for one, am going along for the ride.. .