After three years the Cape Town-based Sons of Trout have released their third album, Odd Times, the first on the SAfm label. The album has a lively acoustic feel and a distinctly local sound. The music has a playful folk feel, at times reminiscent of the Dave Matthews Band. However, local is not necessarily lekker.
Mark Noak’s simple but effective guitar riffs form the basis for most of the songs. This is overlaid with Mike Hardy’s vocals and Mike Rennie’s violin play. Some of the songs are well arranged, and overall the band seems content to settle for subtler touches rather than extravagant solos. On tracks such as Fool and the bonus track, they experiment too much, sacrificing musicality for experimentation. Musically, the sound varies. Jeff has a distinct world-music flavour, and the upbeat 2Face sounds like a Police song. These two, along with (021) and the title track, deliver most of the album’s good moments.
Lyrically the band aims for the same playful tone occasionally achieved in the music. They fail. The lyrics come over as silly and sloppily written, sometimes resembling teenage poetry.
On the song Crown, for instance, they sing, “Some people think I’m going down / If that is so, please hold my crown.”
They might indeed need someone to hold their crown. Although some have called the album more mature and more balanced than their previous work, they still have a long way to go.
You get the impression that there are some good musicians at work here, but something is missing. Musically they deliver on about three or four tracks, lyrically hardly at all. This said, if you liked their previous albums, you might not share my objections.
Eiffel 65: Contact! (Virgin)
Repetitive, unoriginal, plastic dance-pop for the most indiscriminate of listeners. — Riaan Wolmarans
Nickelback: Silver Side Up (David Gresham)
Nickelback’s hit single How You Remind Me is riding high on radio, displaying the band’s knack for melodic hard rock similar to Creed and Staind. They don’t hesitate to crank up the noise levels and let rip with a full-on rock assault, though — Hangnail and Money Bought won’t make your local radio station’s playlist, but they sure do make the windows rattle. They even have a conscience — the grungy opener Never Again condems domestic violence. It’s a strong album that doesn’t rely only on its singles to impress. — Riaan Wolmarans