Nakhane – ‘You Will Not Die’ Album Review

Glue your wig and apply oil sheen to your edges.

Alternative took a 47-minute glam turn on South African polymath Nakhane’s new project You Will Not Die.

‘Violent Measures’ is the first track that sets the scene to harmonic progressions, as Nakhane sings “I didn’t give it a name / I didn’t need it to come alive / Desperate times call for stolen pleasures… These were violent measures”. As the song progresses, it reminds me of the incapacity or unwillingness to reciprocate romantic feelings or love.

Nakhane says: “I spent about 3 years writing ‘Interloper’. It first started out as a Pornography-era The Cure homage. Then it morphed into a slow, acoustic Iron & Wine thing. Ben Christophers (producer) and I decided to make it a stomp and a romp. Something that one could spin around to. Even though it’s a song about irrational jealousy and anonymous sex.”

A few days ago, I got to experience the brand new video for ‘Interloper’. With visuals as captivating as the track, the gospel-like ‘Interloper’ began life in a very different form and has become a soaring, multi-faceted alternative pop song.

Having already shared the haunting ‘Presbyteria’ and the kaleidoscopic pop of ‘Clairvoyant’, Nakhane is fast becoming one of 2018’s most intriguing musical prospects. His album You Will Not Die is a diverse and emotionally charged body of work, documenting the joys, pain, confusion and hope experienced by Nakhane in recent years.

The title track song, ‘I Will Not Die’, with existential-crying lyrics and sound-escaping piano arrangements, brings out Nakahane’s emotionalism and rapturous crooning and powerful vocals.

The Clairvoyant singer was born in Alice and grew up in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in a deeply religious community. His upbringing ignited his love of music and unlocked his flair for performance, yet also taught him shame that has proved difficult to rid himself of. “When I was Christian and prayed to God every day, I had only hatred for myself,” Nakhane says. “Every day of my life, I was doing all I possibly could to be like everyone else, to be heterosexual. I was even convinced I would be able to ‘heal’ my homosexuality. I was living in constant fear; controlling myself at all times.”

Backtrack to AFROPUNK Jo’burg, Nakhane performed ‘The Dead’ for the first time. His solo dance to the electric guitar reminded us why we need to stan forever. ‘The Dead’ is an idiosyncratic sound that has by far become my top 3 favourite song on the album.

‘Star Red’ is an ode to his hometown and religious background, with a knee-jerking beat and the continuous harmonies. While ‘Fog’, a classic given a gloss remake that makes the dark pop and soaring vocals that make the song an iconic piece. The man of the moment continues to flex his sensuous musicianship on ‘By the Gullet’.

There’s exquisite production on ‘Teen Prayer’ – which is atmospheric and bold. You can’t help but dig the dreamlike harmonies and the curiously-EQ’d neo-classical strings to this spiritual ode.

If anything, this album deserves a perfect score of 9 out of 10.

TOUR DATES

MARCH 20 / LONDON HOXTON BAR & GRILL
MARCH 23 / ZURICH M4 FESTIVAL
MARCH 29 / PARIS CAFÉ DE LA DANSE
APRIL 20 / ROTTERDAM MOTEL MOZAIQUE
APRIL 26 / BOURGES PRINTEMPS DE BOURGES FESTIVAL
APRIL 27 / LYON LE PETIT BULLETIN FESTIVAL
APRIL 28 / TOURCOING THEATRE DE L’IDEAL
APRIL 29 / BRUSSELS ORANGERIE NUITS BOTANIQUES FESTIVAL
MAY 20 / COLOGNE ARTHEATER
MAY 21 / BERLIN KANTINE AM BERGHAIN
MAY 23 / HEIDELBERG QUEER FESTIVAL
MAY 25/BUSHFIRE FESTIVAL, SWAZILAND
MAY 26/ BASSLINE FESTIVAL, CONSTITUTION HILL, JOHANNESBURG
MAY 27/ ZAKIFO, DURBAN
JUNE 2/ SAKIFO, REUNION ISLAND
JULY 6 / BELFORT EUROKEENNES FESTIVAL
JULY 15 / PARIS AFROPUNK FESTIVAL
JULY 28 / SAN SIMON SINSAL FESTIVAL
JULY 29 / SAN SIMON SINSAL FESTIVAL

You Will Not Die tracklisting

1. Violent Measures
2. Clairvoyant
3. Interloper
4. You Will Not Die
5. Presbyteria
6. The Dead
7. Star Red
8. Fog
9. By The Gullet
10. All Along
11. Teen Prayer
12. Clairvoyant (Radio Mix)

Listen to the album here:

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