June 2000, BMG,
October 2001, BMG,
(re-issue with bonus track)
- Trying To Believe
- Just Me
- Now I Know
- Right Here
- Never Alone
- Little Intensity
- Now I Know (Remix)
Bonus track on 2nd Edition:
- Life (Theme From Big Brother) featuring Redds
- Tikara: vocals, keyboards
- Chris Acker: guitars
- Sacha Muller: drums
- Morné Smit: bass
Chris Acker and Sascha Muller have been doggedly recording and releasing material under the Black Diamond moniker for some years now. A succession of female vocalists worked with the band but no long-term
line-up emerged. Now the two are back with a new band name, new sound,
and a 20-year old vocalist and co-writer called Tikara. This fresh
Cape-based combination is now known as Semisane and their recent signing to BMG has been cemented with the release of their debut 10-track album, ‘A Life Less Strange’. (There could be some confusion due to the similarity of the band’s name to that of BMG international label mates, Semisonic.) It’s unusual that they found themselves voted onto the Winston State Of The Nation bill, but the exposure, and the opportunity to utilize top notch sound and lighting, could kickstart an exciting future.
The album is a soft and sweet package of pop treats. Tikara’s emotive
and breathy vocals create a sound similar to those of Frente, Bic Runga and the Sundays’ Harriet Wheeler and are surprisingly mature for someone who had never before sung professionally. Tikara, who successfully auditioned after hearing a radio ad, had never recorded in a studio until the band entered the Farm Studios in Gauteng under the experienced wings of producers Brian O’Shea and Christopher Tuck. Tikara also played keyboards on the album alongside Morne Smit (bass), Acker (electric and acoustic guitar), and Muller (drums and percussion). But it’s her gently melancholic vocals that spearhead the album’s many attractions. The album glides along at its own steady pace, allowing the understated but effective arrangements to reveal their secrets. A handful of these songs could have done the honours as first single but ‘Right Here’ got the nod. It could easily have been the QZoo-ish ‘Now I Know’, which reappears (and works better) as a speedier dance mix at the end of the album. Time will tell whether BMG’s instincts were correct about Semisane. I have a feeling they were. (SS)
Press Release, September 2001:
Semisane's classy debut album A LIFE LESS STRANGE was released in the middle of last year and quickly spawned several radio hits including 'Right Here', 'Alright', 'Now I Know' and the classic tune 'Trying To Believe'. Produced by noted team of Brian O'Shea and Christopher Tuck (who between them have worked with top acts like TKZee, Saron Gas and Watershed), the album became a contemporary South African pop rock masterpiece.
Described last year as "a sonic cocktail that's deliciously listenable, intensely atmospheric and instantly likeable but by no means immediately disposable", the superb album helped establish the hard-gigging Cape Town quartet as one of the freshest faces on the South African music scene. The record was also released in Germany, a rare feat but only the start of bigger things to come, as the band's life would soon be changed forever.
Semisane's stunning debut album helped them land the job of recording the official theme song for Big Brother South Africa. The result was 'Life', a catchy song that is emerging as one of the biggest hit tunes of the year, as the TV show continues to take the country by storm.
Now the band's album is re-released as a specially repackaged offering that includes the hit 'Life', adding life to an already essential pop rock album.