Published Feb 25, 2019Straight from the opening track, listeners get a sense that the spiritual gravitas Nakhane brings to his music is far from conventional. The South African artist, author and musician mines past outward and inward conflicts, with his sexuality and his Christian fundamentalist upbringing, in visceral, explorative fashion.
Genre-wise, Nakhane is nonchalant, standing tall on a gospel and soul foundation and subsuming art pop and electro vibes to radiate a performative, intimate sensation. He hits us swiftly with the harmonic pomp of "Violent Measures" — "desperate times call for stolen measures" — as the frenetic electro-pop "Clairvoyant" aims, and succeeds, to disorient. The new wave of "Interloper" impresses as it caresses, the propulsive staccato of "The Dead" snaps and crackles, while "Medicine" situates us via a piano underpinning to consume a commercially minded ballad as it speaks of healing and keeping the painful darkness at bay.
The level of craft involved — songwriting, musicality, performative sense — belies his relative anonymity within the greater music continuum. You Will Not Die is both an affirmation and a promise. (BMG)