Van Coke Kartel Van Coke Kartel

Van Coke Kartel

Van Coke Kartel

Bloed, Sweet & Trane

Van Coke Kartel
Rolling Stone:
November 06, 2013    

With Bloed, Sweet & Trane Van Coke Kartel spits in the face of terms like “hitting the ceiling” and “circling the creative cul-de-sac” on their hardest-hitting album yet. They’ve conjured up enough fresh, fist-pumping riffs here to last Afrikaans-rock junkies a lifetime. There’s barbed-wire garage-rock tumbleweeds about gazing te diep in die bottel (“Die Dag”). There’s slow walking power anthems knowing that you know nothing (“Môregloed”). There are regular intoxicated liaisons with violence and friends with bad habits (“Here Man”). It’s so hectic, yet so heartfelt that you’ll virtually sweat blood and tears.

Lyrically, Bloed, Sweet & Trane serves as another introspective-autobiographical Francois van Coke confession session. “In Die Agtergrond” is a yin-and-yang soundtrack to every man’s existential midthirties crisis (“Ek moet die rekening betaal/Ek moet ’n windgat kar ry”). When Van Coke saniks through his nasal cavities, “Al wat ek nodig het is ’n uitsig/En ’n ligte bries om in af te koel/Son sak in die agtergrond”, you can feel his longing for some kind of simpler existence than the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll rollercoaster ride he’s been on for the past decade. Even his home address in Bellville and his English bulldog, Ringo, gets a nod in the punchy chorus-driven “Niemand Is Meer Heilig Nie”.

And then, later, at an AA-meeting, the ominous “Sweef” comes along and punches rock’n’ roll animals in the face. Jason Oosthuizen’s drum rolls drool like a rabid dog while Van Coke boils nails in his throat as he surrenders with a resolute: “My verhouding met drank moes stop.”

Sure, Van Coke can sometimes squeeze his syllables into uncomfortable places (“Eendag op ’n Slag”). But before you can call bullshit, he does so himself when he concludes with a question: “Vat ek dit weer te vêr soos gewoonlik?” – in minor key, naturally.

As a hard-rock band, Van Coke Kartel effortlessly outplays any hard-rock band in South Africa. If being 30-something and angsty makes you produce music like this, then bring on the 40s, ’cause it only gets better and better.

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