Album Review: Blk Jks – After Robots

September 11, 2009

South Africa, the distant future.

Concept: I can’t tell whether this is a dystopian concept album or not.

Sound: Blk Jks score big on the enthusiasm factor. The vocalist’s earnest melancholy and the wonderfully dynamic drummer keep things wild and loose. The band’s tinkering sprawl on this album is very similar to that of De-Loused In The Comatorium, using South African pop influence very sparingly in favor of psychedelic rock. While the first four tracks are a thrilling experience, it becomes clear in the remainder of the album that Blk Jks are too hooked on their initial grooves and tone to do any more than rehash them. I’m not sure they ever change the key, either, which is a common problem that can be found in the work of The Scorpions or Kings Of Leon. It’s of greater consequence when a band so often decides to take things slow as Blk Jks do. Their jamming can get choppy, too. The guitarist sometimes falls head over heels and starts stuttering all over the place, and the drummer sometimes decides to switch up his rhythm at the most inappropriate times in the middle of a groove. 

Lyrics: As the title suggests, there are a slew of sci-fi images and ad libbing of technical terms. Although much of the vocal parts are in Zulu, the English component varies from corny to genuinely touching expression of introspective despair and apostrophe (sometimes a monster is what you need to be).

Quick And Dirty: Blk Jks could be something powerful and new. Not yet. The opening tracks make a strong bid for the spotlight, though. (♦♦♦½)

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