Mystery, the debut EP from South Africa’s BLK JKS, is not just a promising start. This isn’t about potential; it’s about talent already fulfilled. To hear the chaotic guitar squalls and pained choirs of “Lakeside”, or the spin-and-fall vocals on the title track, is to hear songs that are unruly, borderless, and beautiful. Each song clocks in at around five minutes, and that five minutes is stuffed full of sounds, but the noises—from the intricate drums to the squealing atmosphere of their spiraling guitar work—don’t butt up against each other so much as they swell and bleed together, each part working in unison without sacrificing the grit of their own growl.
Mystery is full of zealous energy and frustrated energy. It seethes with tearful anger and bursts with a cautious joy. In just four songs, BLK JKS make music that gets under the skin, that pulls you along for the frenetic ride, and leaves ragged tracks in its thundering wake. The band keeps the vowels out of its name, finds no use for those hollow puffs of air between the hard sound of consonants. They get right to what grabs you, in name and in sound, and that straightforward approach has yielded an EP of impressive size and unbridled talent. Settle in, BLK JKS are going to be around for a while.
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