4AM’s new EP is a pop-rock ode to the motherland

When I’m not festival hopping at home, I travel a lot. There’s nothing which makes me more homesick than South African music which plays homage to the country – and this EP hit me right in the feels.

They hadn’t hit my radar before this release, but these Jozi-hailing folk rockers are a group to keep an eye on. Organic, instrumental groove meets whining rock progressions and blossoms. Colloquial, narrative lyricism prevails.

Rougher, rhythmic vocals dominate “Nowhere Else” and “Smoke”, both of which are toeing genre line consistently – while “Howling” favours the pop spectrum with choral vocals and dabbling fretwork.

But it’s “African Skies” and “Red Sand” which get my attention. The former is an indie-pop love letter to Africa, which is going to make you wanna move. The latter, which features Qadasi’s white man isiZulu inflections, counters traditional rhythms with an electronic fringe you barely catch. “African Blood runs deep,” they assert, and I concur.