Dassie tackles some of the grittier realities South Africans are faced with in a driving indie-rock EP, No Echo

Seven years down the line and Dassie (aka David Moffatt of the lauded outfit The Dirty Skirts) returns with a new EP, No Echo, whose sentimentalities get real about the state of South Africa – and indeed the world at large – right now. 

Blink and you’ll miss it, though. While the EP takes a heavy tone as it waxes lyrical on a society Dassie sees as characterised in part by violent crime and domestic violence, as well as the overall futility of optimism, the music speaks to its own tone. 

The indie-pop-rock continuum of No Echo keeps things simultaneously light on its feet – and if you forgot to flap your ears at the lyricism, the whole album could easily be passed off as another dance floor-worthy alt-rock extravaganza. Only it’s not – so I’d advise you take the dichotomy with a pinch of salt. 

Opener “Love Me, Love Me” might make you wanna dance – it’s synth-heavy and minimalist – with just a grain of rock-driven grit. Elastic vocals bring the title track around, as it unfurls shadowy narrative on keeping ones head above the stormy water that is today, while a percussive pizzicato rhythm lifts it at the edges. 

“Scream For Silence” ushers in a vaguely ’90s indie-rock tangent in the vein of domestic violence – while “Funeral Song” wraps things up in the range of a ’70s rock ballad superimposed as a shout into the void.

No Echo is as poignant as it is pulse-racing – and Dassie navigates the knife-sharp edge between with expertise.