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Album Review: Africans from Outta Space – EP (December 11, 2020) – Afronaut

By Evan Cardinal, Albright '21

Album Review: Africans from Outta Space – EP (December 11, 2020) – Afronaut

The Context – To the untrained ear, it may be surprising to hear the amalgamation of blues, country-punk, and rockabilly coming from the all-African trio Afronaut. However, music enthusiasts can interpret the soundscape from the newly formed South African, So Punk group as a reclamation of the foundational blues and rock elements from traditional African music.

Hailing from the Soweto Township in South Africa (the birthplace of So Punk), Afronaut is comprised of vocalist and former rapper Fumane “Fumez On The Mic” Mahane, former thrash punk guitarist Thulasizwe Nkosi, and violinist Zakhele Mangwanyane. Despite releasing one single in November 2020’s “Birdhouse” prior to their December 2020 debut EP release, Afronaut has built a strong local and international following as a leader of the So Punk movement.

The Content – The rumbling “Barfight” underscores Afronaut’s rambunctious, punk attitude to commence The Good Times Co published Africans from Outta Space – EP with fisticuffs. The trio slows down the tempo considerably on the bittersweet and melancholic (thanks in particular to Mangwanyane’s wailing violin) “Life Spiral.” The disorienting instrumental and slew of bird caws certainly emblazon the sentiment of the line “the whole world is going cuckoo” in the debut single “Birdhouse.”

The strong bluesy rockabilly elements on “Hell For Sinners” shine as a noteworthy track on the record. Mahane carries over the patented rockabilly growl a la Wanda Jackson on the more stripped back “Ghost On the Roof” and the pointed ultimate, folk-sounding “Youthless.”

The Skinny – The Africans from Outta Space – EP is a rather tightly arranged debut evoking the diverse country, folk, blues, rockabilly, and punk repertoire of Afronaut. In terms of the latter anti-establishmentarian sound, only the brazen attitude of “Barfight” and a few moments in “Youthless” capture the essence of punk as does the general songwriting thematic. Nonetheless, the clean studio production, vocals, and instrumental arrangement on Africans from Outta Space poises Afronaut and the So Punk sound for more international appeal.

The Rating – 6.1/10

Africans from Outta Space – EP

  1. Barfight
  2. Life Spiral
  3. Birdhouse
  4. Hell For Sinners
  5. Ghost On the Roof
  6. Youthless