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Fetish You have to be brave to call your band and debut album 'Fetish'. Among the various definitions of the word fetish is "something evoking irrational devotion or respect". So here we have a Cape Town band who have been around about a year and who have in that short time evoked quite some devotion and respect except, in their case, it is anything but irrational.

Fetish are a five person band with Michelle Breeze writing all the lyrics, handling the vocals and providing the focal point for, well, let's look at another definition of fetish to answer that one: "something abnormally stimulating or attracting sexual desire". That, in a nutshell, is Michelle Breeze. From initially being a shy, no eye contact, singing softly through her fringe-type vocalist, Breeze has blossomed into a confident singer who is obviously enjoying singing her thoughts and simutaneously milking the rapture of her adoring, and growing, flock of devoted fans. It's tempting to try and pinpoint her influences but comparing her to Siouxsie or Beth Gibbons from Portishead would be semi-accurate but unfair because this is a songstress who is carving her own legend.

The album, which was produced, engineered and recorded by Malcolm Aberdein and Brian Sepel, contains twelve tracks which are all individual in style and feel yet as a whole all illustrate the wondrous chemistry that exists between the words and the music. Dominic Forrest on guitar and David Fiene on keyboards provide tight and complimentary backdrops of sound to Breeze's vocals. Jeremy Daniels (bass) and Croc E. Moses (drums) underpin the melodies with a solid and understated beat. The initial 1000 copies of the album are all packaged in a different fabric covering and have a number on the box which only shows up under a UV light.

The album kicks off with the single 'Never Enough', which has already been garnering some radio airplay. It's a frothy, gothy song with keyboard and guitar licks swirling around the vocals, building to a strident chorus and then dropping back into a soft ominous swirl. 'Motherhush', 'Blue Blanket' and 'No Time' all illustrate the strong arrangements and crafted synchronicity between the instruments and vocals that create the beautiful yet ominous sound of Fetish. 'pc' is more acoustic and talks about "Jesus coming back and being crucified again or broadcast on the Internet". Now there's a thought!

'Mist' and 'Smoke' are atmospheric with sound effects rippling through the songs to emphasise the titles. On 'Heat' Michelle sings: "Wheels turn and we learn that the sun has become the enemy". While this could be interpreted as a Goth credo, the music is too sweet to assume anything else but that tanning is bad for you. 'Fetish' is highly recommended for its strong songs, evocative vocals and lyrics and for the fact that it grabs you by the collar and forces you to listen to it obsessively to uncover all its layers. It is best summed up by a third dictionary derived definition:. "An object worshipped as magical by primitive peoples". You have been warned! (SS) 8/10

others in the REVIEWS

Allison Simkiss / Fetish management fetish@iafrica.com Or phone Allison at 021-618 120 The CD costs R79.99 plus R12.00 postage.

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Lots of SA CDs to buy online at One World.

There's also the Two Oceans Trading online shopping mall where you can purchase Springbok rugby merchandising, SA books, jewellery and CD-ROMs, amongst many other items.

Any thoughts, requests, problems, complaints, praise or interesting and relevant SA music news, please email it immediately to: sugar@cd.co.za

editor: Stephen "Sugar" Segerman, webmaster: Alan Levin, maintainer: Brian Currin

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