“Those Meddling Kids” got away with it

When I hear music, I don’t just hear sound. I hear the passion behind the lyrics and the hours of grafting in the studio to create a masterpiece. Music is an art form that provides listeners with an enlightening experience from which we can learn. We learn from the lyrics, from the beat and from the rhythm, we learn from the artists themselves. With this review of Shortstraw’s “The Meddling Kids” I want to recognise the educating power that this music has, right here in our very own South Africa.

With their latest in-progress album, The Meddling Kids, the boys of Shortstraw are back at it again presenting their unique South African voices to crowds of eager indie-rock fans. This creation is a collective arrangement of a variety of artistic talents. Collaborating with both local and international figures in the music, artwork and film industries, this album provides the opportunity for visual artists, designers, dancers and cinematographers to gain exposure to become ‘meddling kids’. The abundance of young and upcoming talent present in the music videos, artwork and songs themselves reminds us that, despite the track title, Shortstraw is not just Keeping it in the Family.

Much like lead vocalist, Alastair Thomas’s fresh new ‘stache, the band manages to “make things interesting” by releasing one song on the first Friday of each month since September 2016. The purpose of this was to “put a strong focus” on their songs as well as to allow time to be creative with their music videos (Boosh Music, 2016). Seven songs down the line and they have fans hooked on their festival feel that brings out the care-free, bad dance moves and John Lennon sunglasses. It is easy to picture oneself, red solo cup in hand, dancing to “T-shirt” on the lawns of Kirstenbosch Gardens. And what would an indie-rock album be without a song mocking a generic trend? “Boo” is available for all you ‘insta’ couples out there to rave over with your significant other. As for the singles out there, don’t you worry, you can bond with your pets whilst the beautiful memoir Bowsie plays in the background.

The title of the album, “Those Meddling Kids” rings true with the cheeky, care-free attitude of the band much like the Scooby-Doo gang. It is also appropriate on so many levels- one of them being that guitarist Tom Revington shares the exact same haircut and facial expressions as the character of “Shaggy”. The one thing to praise about this album so far is the consistency of quality in both the sound and lyrics which explains why the band has “earned themselves a place as currently being one of the biggest bands in South Arica” (Boosh Music, 2016). With their last album Youthless debuting at Number 1 on the South African iTunes store, there are great expectations for Those Meddling Kids, let’s hope they can get away with it once again.

Music Videos

T-shirt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK57GOAXjfM

Bowsie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTtckjLDJTA

Keep it in the Family: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bI0IouPz53o

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