Album review: Shortstraw - Those Meddling Kids

 

CLAUDINE NOPPE

After releasing a new song with a music video once a month for the last year, Shortstraw finally released their third studio album, Those Meddling Kids, on 1 September. The band celebrated this event with a launch party at The GoodLuck Bar in Johannesburg. The Cape Town based electronic duo, Floorslive, took the stage first. Their moody sound got the throngs of people waiting to get in swaying and excited. MIAGII followed them with a hard rock set that was reminiscent of Van Coke Kartel and Foo Fighters.

Shortstraw started off their set at The GoodLuck Bar with the first song on their album “Ignorance is Bliss”. According to a press release from the band, this song was born from a ten year old idea. “Ignorance is Bliss” is a perfect beginning for the album as it starts slowly with a keyboard instrumental and then flawlessly goes from that melody into something more hardcore sound synonymous with their Indie-Bele sound. The strong vocals intertwine beautifully with the changes in rhythm.

“Keep it in the Family” is a song that sounds very similar to songs in their first album Good Morning, Sunshine. Fans will get the same feeling when listening to “Keep it in the Family” as they got listening to “Gimme my fix (It’s Only Recreational)”. The next songs on the album, “Thailand” and “Bowsie” flow effortlessly between each other without sounding too similar. “Bowsie” kicks off with an old-school electric guitar solo that builds into an all-instrument intro. The song also acted as a spring board for The Bowsie Foundation, a foundation to support animal charities in South Africa. “Boo” acts as a much needed intermission between the first and second halves of the album. The song might be a typical love song, but the quirky lyrics and catchy hook keeps it from becoming too sappy. The tempo of the album is picked up again in the intro for “Rich Richards”, which uses brilliant tempo changes to keep listeners enthralled. “Rich Richards” is described by the band as “three different songs in one”. One of the most uniquely different songs on the album, “Our Simple Minds”, blends well into the album, but definitely stands out with its powerful lyrics. The lead vocalist, Alastair Thomas, shows his full vocal range in this song. The last song on the album, “Eventually…” featuring Laudo Liebenberg, perfectly ends this listening experience with explorations of love and death. Liebenberg, from aKing, pops in and out of the track to deliver a raspy verse or two.

Those Meddling Kids truly encapsulates Shortstraw’s Indie- Bele sound without being monotonous. This can be attributed to the fact that the songs were written each month with different moods, genres and themes. “Each month, as we wrote the songs, I’d just be singing about what I was going through at the time. A struggling relationship, a break up and the subsequent reforming of said relationship, along with the death of my first dog. It’s actually a pretty personal album,” Alastair Thomas said of Those Meddling Kids.

 

4/5

 

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