South-African born alt-rock band, KONGOS, released their 4th studio album titled ‘1929 Pt. 1’ just over a week ago. The four talented siblings formed pretty much from birth, descending from singer-songwriter John Kongos. There may be artists comparable to them, such as Muse, Imagine Dragons and Kings of Leon, but they occupy a space in the modern music world that is entirely their own.
With their previous three albums consisting of heavy stomping rhythms, melodic accordion and wide-range vocals, it was almost a given that they were to follow a similar path. However, ‘1929 Pt. 1’ is their most experimental album to date, something very different from their trademark compositions.
This work is increasingly subtler compared to previous; is this their answer to an ever-expanding electronic world?
The more stripped-back, yet upbeat tracks, ‘Something New’ and ‘I Am Not Me’ still have the use of accordion that has become so unique to their sound, but this time the heavy rhythm section takes a back seat. The band have seemingly relaxed into their style; taking a fearless chance to experiment around their genre. Listing ‘Something New’ as the first track probably didn’t occur by chance, this album really is something new; a step forward into the modern age.
Darker, more ominous tracks; ‘Stand Up’ and ‘Keep Your Head’ address the subjects of repeated history and toxic narcissism using multi-layered vocals entwined with irony. ‘Pay for the weekend’ is relatable on a shallow level, but delving deeper is revealed to be another epiphany on the topic of the future replicating the past. The track includes gang vocals similar to earlier releases, yet showcases a more refined sound.
KONGOS still make evident their ability to switch up the pace, scattering slower, melancholic songs such as ‘Wild Hearts’ and ‘Real Life’ throughout this album. The former includes fainter versions of the wild, stomping rhythms of previous works, however, utilises them like an echo of the past; reminding listeners of what once was. Those that believe this song is just a simple tale of a crazy night out are missing the point. ‘Real Life’ is the shortest track, however perhaps has the most to say. Here, they address the problematic rise of social media causing a distortion of reality and ultimately a loss of what it means to live a real life.
Clouded by expert layering of melodies and African-inspired rhythm; ‘1929 Pt 1’ is a melancholic prediction of our fate to repeat ourselves; a revelation that nothing ever really changes and modern society is doomed to experience the same discriminatory issues until the end.
KONGOS are currently on tour in North America with support from FITNESS.