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Straatligkinders fourth album: Growing pains or a coming of age?

When you start a band, age plays a huge a factor - especially in the world of metal. Basically, unless you're old-school like Ozzy or Maiden, don't plan on doing it for too long. Don't you ever forget, your oh-so-serious hard core band comes with the same cultural expiration date as an emo-haircut circa 2006. With regards to Straatligkinders and their newest album (and all their previous works), it's simply put: young music for the young - only problem is, this time they're not so young anymore.
According to the wise words of ska band Fuzigish: "To grow up is to give up." A bit naïve no doubt, but, nevertheless, a somewhat true statement in the spirit of all things rock 'n' roll. If anyone exposes the truth contained for what is, we don't have to look further than Iggy Pop: known for his wild antics, that in his late age are starting to appear a bit more jokey and silly than cool. But here we are, let's dig deeper into SLK's "Konings Met Verskonings" ("Kings Of Excuses") - we're not getting younger discussing age as a factor, and the four-piece from Potch aren't pushing 50 yet.

As with their previous three albums, there's a two-year-gap in between this and the previous offering, but unlike before, this album is leaning more towards the philosophy of singer-growler-frontman (and moustache-model) Bouwer Bosch's solo efforts: happy.

So, you're probably asking: "Can I expect token melodic punk riffs exploding in harmony with the odd touch of abrasive licks for contrast?" Obviously. But you might also be wondering: "Must I anticipate any additional elements that as a fan, and a hard-core-to-the-bone mosher, fear and don't expect in my SLK album collection?" Well, maybe - depends on how much you love them dude.

Not enough to warrant novelty

Metal, unlike most genres except maybe dance, can still be still be developed and, thus, be original - mainly because things can always go darker and deeper. Here it doesn't. But like metal pioneers Iwrestledabearonce and Bring Me The Horizon's remix efforts, they've added the electro element, just not enough to warrant novelty.

So why does this album matter? Because, the lyrics and overall set-up is like a caring adult (that's more older experienced cool brother than nagging mother) telling you about life like it really is through the trappings of metal and punk tunes - essentially functioning as that diamond the younger innocent soul perceives the universe through, the very same we all lose when we grow up. Case and point with track 5, Voete Van Klei (Feet Of Clay), here's an extract in Afrikaans and English for your convenience:

"Ek en jy alleen/hardloop ons die wêreld in/hardloop ons die wêreld in/ek probeer die goud-pot alleen dra ... sê nou ek gee nie/meer my alles nie/wat as ek nooit weer/bang sal wees nie/ ek is die koning van verskonings met jou/ek vergelyk my elke keer met jou ... op die ou einde is ek net soos jy." "You and I alone/we run into this world/we run into this world/I'm trying to carry the pot of gold on my own ... what if I don't/don't give my all anymore?/what if I'm never/ever afraid again?/I am the king of excuses/I compare myself every time to you ... in the end we're both the same."

It is said that the beauty of a young man is in his strength and in an older man the wisdom in his grey hairs. No further investigation required. It's simple and honest with nothing to prove and everything to tell, from track one to 13.

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About Johann M. Smith

Johann M Smith is a music journalist turned content hacker. Known as the IDM MAG launch designer, Johann specialises in entertainment, travel and social commentary. Or as he puts it: "I speak as and for companies through social and design."