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4am: Dust n Dimes

Acoustic folk with a generous dose of rock 'n' roll tendencies.

2 Nov 2017 / Opinion, Review / written by Skye Mallac

The fourth official release from the Joburg-based folk-rock group 4am is a five-track, energy-fueled offering and a general exploration of the journey through this life and the people we encounter along the way. Comprised of Marc Wainstein, Pete Kelemen, Aidan Starr and Phoenix, 4am has been navigating the northern South African sphere for several years now, kicking up dust as they go.

The EP opens on their titular track: a fast-paced country style folk offering, kicked up by a heady drum baseline. Rhythmic acoustic guitar is overlain by a high-toned lead counterpart, while roughened vocals solidify the hoe-down tendencies of the song. ‘Burn’ follows on with a staccato, percussive foundation. It’s the lead single off the EP and is as energy-saturated as it gets. Bass-orientated and dominated by lower register vocals and baritone hums, it possesses a distinctive folk-tale style to the lyrics.

‘Halfway Home’ features Kirsten Kennedy and dips into a roughed, rock style for the first time, while ‘Move On’ incorporates jangling guitar work and a swift moving baseline with unambiguous grace. “We come here with weathered souls but full of heart,” Wainstein growls. Heady drum lines and percussive tendencies flesh out the otherwise simple track, which navigates moving onwards and upwards within all aspects of life.

‘That Rock N Roll’ concludes the little EP with a sharp 90 degree turn from folk to full blown rock. Gritty, growling and electric it provides a surprisingly welcome deviation from their folk roots. Headbanging and hearty in its rock n roll form, its an ode to the genre as a whole in some ways, while a false ending gives way to chuckled banter between band members in the recording room, providing a sweet backstage glimpse.

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