Family bands are a curious breed. Whether it’s the telepathic symmetry of The Cribs or the psychotic rivalry of the Gallaghers, the results often attain a certain cohesion. In these instances, the adage ‘You can choose your friends but…’ is out the window, and family is forged into harmony, in spite of sibling one-upmanship.
In the case of Kongos – brothers Jesse, Johnny, Daniel and Dylan – the dynamic is a curious one. While their Kwaito-tinged musical ensemble is comprehensive, their contrast of personalities makes them utterly compelling.
With each brother writing individually, the divergence of styles and influences is quadrophenic. While opener I’m Only Joking sees Jesse’s fusion of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk exploded by Arcade Fire-works, Johnny’s single Come With Me Now sees Beck rhapsodising over a raucous, Slade-like chorus. Guitarist Daniel chips in with Kids These Days – a truncated set-to of guitar and accordion egged on by a bloodthirsty Kasabian. From this, a segue into the mountain-bound Celtic ethereality of As We Are draws you back into a ballad that somehow incorporates reggae. Dylan, meanwhile, gives us the Paul Simon-meets-Supergrass earthiness of Sex On The Radio, and the Keane-like haunting ballad of Travelling On. But for all their differences, album closer This Time I Won’t Forget draws everything together, a Pink Floyd-like hymn to the will of the human spirit that truly demonstrates homogeneity is where the heart is.
Sibling rivalry has never sounded so good. Behold: this is sibling revelry.
*This review is published in BrumNotes magazine http://www.brumnotesmag.co.uk