By: Ashleigh Hellström
For an album that is named “Dutch Courage” in the years after the fall of the Apartheid era, it bears little relation to anything Afrikaans or even slightly Dutch. What is even more unexpected is that its creator, the melodic rock band aKING, is comprised of two ex- Fokofpolisiekar members. Surprisingly there are no similarities between the music of the two bands as one would expect. No swearing. No Afrikaans. No racial alienation. No shaming of Christianity. Perhaps Hunter Kennedy and Jaco Venter took something away from their time with their old band… one can only hope.
“Dutch Courage” is fully and utterly a Soutie album. The Afrikaans-born boys seem to have ditched their moedertaal and adopted a language that is easier to understand from a global perspective; English. The album was released in 2008 and consists of eleven songs. aKING has focused their hearts purely on the actual music as there is little to no political connections in any of their songs. Experience, moments of epiphany, life and love are the main under tones of the songs in “Dutch Courage”. Their song, My Last Words and Guilty as Sin, are perfect examples of this. Rather than focussing on political issues they look internally and write meaningful, almost philosophical, lyrics which often contain religious connotations of sin and being human. Their lyrics hold more meaning in them than 90% of the internationally released music which is both commercial and repetitive. If I had to compare “Dutch Courage” to other artists then I would say that it is a mix between music by Ben Howard, Mumford & Sons and Black Veil Brides (without the screamo).
My Last Words
The traumatic acceptance of my mortality
Although my existence doesn’t mean that much to me
All of my acquaintances will be missed
But I think of the ones that I hold dear
The one’s I’ve been blessed with
Guilty as Sin
A futile attempt to repent
I must’ve lost my mind
Seek and you shall find
A messiah to remind you
That deliverance is an open door
You can choose to go inside
Although “Dutch Courage” is classified as melodic rock it takes inspiration from both country and folk, creating a blend of drum and guitar that makes you want to sway slightly with a light in the air above your head. Never mind Laudo Liebenberg’s voice which is goose bump rendering, it is deep and harmonious and is best portrayed in Safe as Houses.
Safe as Houses
Safe as houses
Tuck me in
Daylight waits for no man
You’re still young and breathing’s easy
Suck it in
What a wasteless façade
What a pity we’ve come this far
This album deserves more recognition than it has received. The instrumental side, as well as the lyrics and vocals, are emotion triggering and beautiful not just on a rock level.