April 2002, ENT Entertainment, distributed by Sony, CDENT001
SA Rock Digest charts:
highest position: 1
weeks on Top 20: 4
- Theo Crous: guitars, bass, vocals
- Francois Blom: vocals, drum programming
- Deon Cabano: keyboards on tracks 1, 2 & 4
The seismic effects following the disbanding of the Springbok Nude Girls in 2001 have mostly dissipated, except for all those SA music websites still boosting their stats with hits from the many "netters" really looking for "nude girls". But the band’s presence has been sorely missed, and many fans watch and wait for the individual members’ "solo years" careers to begin. There were a few, brief Crous and Carstens acoustic sets, and some Sex Tips For Boys material featuring ex-Nudies trumpeter Adriaan Brand is promised, but nothing more than that until now.
Kobus! is the duo formed initially in November 2000 by Theo Crous
(Nudies guitarist) and Francois Blom (ex-Voice of Destruction vocalist). Their debut album, ‘Kobus!’ arrives in a SA rock scene where we find some new rock bands working hard to perfect their images to hopefully catch Seether’s slipstream into the US nu-rock heartland, while others like Starskii, LILO, and Dolly Rockers are exploring the broader and quieter rock borders with folk and alt-country. On the Afrikaans rock front, names like Beeskraal, Brixton Moord En Roof Orkes, and Karen Zoid meld classic rock sounds to intelligent lyrics written to reflect and interpret life in SA today.
Kobus!, however, head straight for the head, evoking the softer, trippy
sounds and vocals of early Pink Floyd with this huge comfy couch of an
album, all gorgeous two chord Afrikaans folk symphonies with blurry
distant vocals, and a psychedelic sheen that seeps into every (digital)
groove of this hour-long musical pleasure cruise. Songs like
‘Sondagmiddag’, the hauntingly-gorgeous ‘Jou Oë’ or the reflective ‘Dink Jy Nou’, flow over and through you, a perfect new soundtrack for those living in the land of the Lotus Eaters and elsewhere.
But it’s not all smooth sailing and there are some harder moments dotted through the album. To pay respectful tribute, and to place this new act in a historical musical context, the album begins with a punchy
‘sakkie-sakkie’ ramble through a recitation of all the big names in
Afrikaans pop-rock over the years. It ends with the repeated phrase "Wie is Kobus?" that gradually shakes off its old tune and merges with a contemporary slice of dance electronica.
Then, in the middle of the album, we meet die ‘Hoenderman’, a terminally strange headbanging song which features a very funny chickens clucking chorus and which is probably going to get the most radio play, creating an inaccurate perception of the whole album. ‘Nege’ is a happy little song that explores the mystical multiplication powers of the number nine and the closing track, ‘Gee Raat!’, gallops off into the sunset with the duo sounding like they recorded these squeaky vocals after ingesting some helium.
All in all, ‘Kobus!’ is the sound of SA music rulebooks being torn up
and used as Rizlas. It’s an extraordinary album and a signpost for the
burgeoning Afrikaans rock scene and their emerging rock poets. A new
path appears and Theo Crous is back (in front). (SS)