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Fokof spin-offs

So Fokofpolisiekar are now defunct, unless there is a big money offer on the table to play some festival or high-profile gig.

Regardless of how you view the band’s legacy, there is no denying the impact they have had on rock music and youth culture in this country.

Just take a look at the amount of bad imitators that are all over South African music channel MK.

But the band has tired of the endless touring and the drugs, sex and rock’n’roll lifestyle and have amiably split up.

A honourable career move, because there is nothing worse than watching rock stars half-heartedly staggering around stage, disillusioned and bloated: read Springbok Nude Girls.

But now we have two new bands on the scene, the Fokof spin-offs.

First up is Van Coke Kartel, comprising Francois van Coke, Wynand Myburgh and Justin Kruger. Their self-titled debut album, released in the last few weeks of 2007, is a full-on punk-rock assault, which is kind of amusing because I remember hearing so many rock fans talking about Fokofpolisiekar as an Afrikaans punk band, which they clearly were not.

They may have had the attitude but their music was very much standard hard rock fare.

Van Coke Cartel is like a stripped back, harder edged punk version of Fokof and for that reason it was never going to set the world alight.

But, for what it is, a down-and-dirty punk-rock record, it is pretty entertaining and their live show is just that too, although their stage moves are becoming overly calculated.

The second Fokof spin-off is called aKing and is led by guitarist Hunter Kennedy. Kennedy has teamed up with original Fokof drummer Jaco Venter and two newcomers, Laudo Liebenberg and Hennie Van Halen, to form aKing and their debut album Dutch Courage was released earlier this month.

While there has been a lot of hype about this rock band with English lyrics, I can’t say they live up to the billing; in fact I find their album downright embarrassing.

It’s middle-of-the-road commercial rock that has a tendency to sound like a bad reject from the 1980s.

Whoever is writing lyrics such as ‘a gunshot rhythm to a decomposing lullaby” and ‘There’s a bullet with my name on, waiting to exhale inside of me” should cease immediately.

I can’t help but cringe when I hear these bad lines delivered over cheap commercial rock riffs that remind me of Nickelback, Courtney Love and Bon Jovi.

Dutch Courage is an album full of bad teenage poetry and enough cheesy hooks to sell a million albums of schlock-rock. Rhythm Records will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Whatever you do, don’t take either of these albums too seriously.

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Lloyd Gedye
Lloyd Gedye
Lloyd Gedye is a freelance journalist and one of the founders of The Con.

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