By Baby Tuckoo
Be afraid. Yes, be afraid.
Why do we in South Africa always, ALWAYS look overseas for icons? Sorry, that’s a dumb question…
But why do we hold people like Jack White as untouchable guitar heroes, when we have talent like Make-Overs’ Andreas Schonfeldt, with all the power and muscle of say Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) and yet with all the strangeness and idiosyncrasy of someone like East Bay Ray (Dead Kennedys) behind him? His indie licks will put any guitarist to shame.
To see them live is truly a sight to behold, and I recently managed to get my hands on their third record: Centipede-Sing-A-Long (April 2012).
The band, credited in the very sparse inner sleeve as “A: Vocals and Guitar and M: Vocals & Drums”, play their music to any and all audiences with such a disarming humility and integrity that is really just another reason to love the band. With the scruples of saints, and the almost bashful demeanour of a pair of buddhist monks, they take to the stage. But once there this incredible twosome tear it to pieces with a collection of threshing hypnotic punk songs like a pair of incensed primitives. No band exists in this country to hold a candle to these two, try as hard as they might.
Their live performances are not unlike being attacked by a magnetic death-ray wielding midget martian at the end of a 3-day mescalin binge. A’s live guitaring brings to mind The Stooges – all the furor of Ron Asheton and the finesse of John Williamson. M’s drumming provides a frantic and sometimes tribal backbeat to the psychadelic chants they churn up.
The record, though, presents a hypnotising assortment of 14 surf-noise, garbled pop magic tunes. When played at the right volume it is in many ways not unlike listening to Motorheads’ The Ace Of Spades 14x in row. Albeit, an Ace Of Spades that’s taken a healthy dose of mushrooms and acid and then gotten lost in CS Lewis’s Wonderland by some accident, while listening to My Bloody Valentine very loud on his little iPod. The tunes have definite pop melodies buried deeply into the often chaotic, psychotic and yet quite well measured mixes.
Punks are idealists. Punk is about wanting to create and living in a world that you would want your offspring to live in. It isn’t about your goddamn hotshot collection of me-mum-bought-these-for-me Misfits or Cramps T-shirts, or your spiked hair, or how drunk you and your mates can get, or how many online postings of said debauchery one makes, or making an annoying racket on your guitars at night in some dingy club. Make-Overs are punks. They’ve been at this the better part of a decade, maybe more (I don’t know the entire backstory) and they don’t intend on letting up.
And what Make-Overs prove to me, in a South African society that typically demands all the edges be sawn off their foodstuffs to make swallowing easier, is that there actually is room here for a more inventive, idealistic and uniquely individualistic approach to making music and that there is an audience who appreciates this here.
Track picks: Black Mamba, Be Afraid, Bloodstream, Less and Less Appeal, Emergency, Retreat
In short: This band is far too humble, and live they’re just spectacular.
In the cold, cold night a boy was birthed. A flash of white noise; nearby televisions sparked; then returned to normal. Viewer’s wrongly put it down to electrical storm interference. The boy entered the machine. He’s been trying to escape ever since.