I can easily recall meeting Cape Town-based afro-rock-pop outfit Stone Jets for the first time. Come to think about it, the memory of this particularly serendipitous rendezvous effortlessly stands out, and anyone who’s met front man Given Nkanyane knows why. The most unobservant individual will easily notice his abundantly amicable persona. Long story short, after performing an unexpected show with the two-piece at the time, little did I know just how close of an eye I’d be keeping on the spirited and self-effacing band. The title of their debut EP, “What I Say”, reminded me of the band’s distinctively humble modus operandi.
Lyrically, opener ‘Something Good’ focuses little on the band themselves, but more on a somewhat self-inflicting relationship that endures endless internal conflict. “We keep the score, another apple at your door, are we gonna stop the war?” sings Nkanyane, ironically merrily and untroubled. Just like in the title track, Manfred Klose’s catchy, indie-kwela guitar lines and Johan Pretorius’ drum patterns, albeit simple, effectively establish the unperturbed and confident foreground to Stone Jet’s uplifting direction.
‘Feeling Good’ encompasses a more nostalgic, melancholy approach. Contrasting to the band’s notoriously happy-go-lucky motive, the track’s emotive and ethereal, reflective character showcases the band’s humanity. Similar in ‘Take a Look at Me’, Nkanyane’s impeccably soulful, impressive and seemingly effortless vocal timbre shines throughout. Dissimilar in groove and rationale, ‘Hurricane’ and ‘Imagine’ tackle a funk-esque, confrontational stance with their rhythmic, earnest albeit simplistic methods. Beautiful closer ‘Telegraph’ exhibits a romantic, comforting ode to anyone found troubled. Simple in dynamic, the track’s unprecedented, consoling nature reveals yet another noble facet.
So far in the 3-piece’s repertoire, one specific aspect I’ve always come to notice is a live component of sorts. A number of explanations come to mind, be it their small-scale but powerful layering or lack of excessive compression. Regardless, I believe this phenomenon serves as an irrefutable indication of Stone Jet’s live performance, and considering their schedule, Nkanyane, Klose and Pretorius are one of Cape Town’s most active and hard-working outfits.
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Listen to “What I Say” below on Deezer.