Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Grant Johnson at Good Danny's, Austin, Texas
The way that Spoek Mathambo describes waking up from a dream, sounds something like waking up into another one in the song, "Grave," from the South African's latest record and Sub Pop debut, "Father Creeper." It's disorienting, but it's not frightening as he realizes that the person that he woke up next to is not the person he thought he laid down beside when he checked out for the night. It's a different face, a different body and different bright, red lips lying beside him now, but the first words out of his mouth aren't startled ones or those of someone taken completely aback. They are words of discovery and new opportunity.
He says, "Hi, how'd ya do/I'm asking/Who are you/I think I/I think I love you/So won't you shake off your blues/Cause, baby, can have fun." He's promised to take this new girl - who's likely just an old girl whose identity was garbled in a haze of booze and the late night ether that consumes so many - to the moon, sounding like something that we heard Ralph Kramden promise Alice back in the 1950s on "The Honeymooners."
This promise sounds a bit sexier and a bit more exotic, as Mathambo exudes a bit of charm and a whole lot of appetite. His music has an air of come-on soul songs and the jauntiness of a twinkling smile that doesn't get said no to every often. It's taken over by the thought that there are enough clouds for everyone to ride on. It's a breezy take that still dips into other territories, like addressing shit-talkers on, "Let Them Talk."
With the backing of the Chicago group CHLLNGR, Mathambo's words and worries are playful, but still mildly urgent and biting. They are full of hot breath and plenty of kicks to the gut. They make you want to look for the same seams in evenings that will lead to mornings of complete and utter confusion/possibility, looking into a set of new, bright, red lips.
Spoek Mathambo Official Site
Sub Pop Records