Rehearsing between lectures at the University of Stellenbosch, Kontras made their debut in early 2019 with hit single “Middelklas Middelman”, earning the band widespread support from KykNET, Huisgenoot and many other publications. Now, straying from a typical Afrikaans-rock sound that is pretty much spearheaded by the likes of Fokofpolisiekar and Francois Van Coke, the band’s ballsy debut, Vir Konteks, is surprisingly multi-faceted for what it sells itself to be.
From a classic sort of ‘Afrikaans is groot’ sound on opener “Chemikalieë” to the nostalgic, pop-leaning melodies of follower “Velde”, the first two tracks of Vir Konteks fall between the splendidly contemporary offerings of Spoegwolf and the slightly edgier side of Die Heuwels Fantasties.
However the opening genuineness is unfortunately short-lived and the difference between the former and latter half of the album is stark, ending in a style better-suited to party occasions than the stage.
What we’re left with is a debut full of potential, even if at times it doesn’t take itself seriously enough. And maybe I’m overselling it, but in an industry saturated with seasoned treffers, at least Kontras are chasing an original sound. Now they’ve just to catch it, and hold on.