You’d have to be living under a rock to have missed the fact that stalwarts of the local music scene, the Springbok Nude Girls, released their long-awaited latest album, Partypocalypse, earlier this month. It’s quite something for a band to still be releasing music after 27 years – and when that music is still able to capture the hearts of their from-the-beginning fans, that’s even more impressive.
For a band like the Springbok Nude Girls, who arguably became the sound of a generation of South Africans, the weight of expectation must be almost unbearable. How do you live up to that kind of reputation? Even as a fan, it’s a little nervy.
I mean, I was at SNG’s very first Durban show, at The Rift, in January 1996 (ever so slightly underage…). It was a turbulent start to the relationship – let’s just say the sound at The Rift was not as nuanced as it could be – and I probably only really fell in love with them when AfterLifeSatisfaction was released the next year, but when I fell, boy did I fall hard. AfterLife remains my favourite album of all time, and Baby Murdered Me is the song I would choose to listen to on repeat if I was only allowed one more song for the rest of my life. I have been to countless SNG shows, losing my mind from the safety of the sidelines in the early years, when the moshpit was a ferocious beast that would chew you up and spit you out with a few guaranteed bruises, at best; travelling the country to watch them and even going to see international artists I didn’t really care about, just because the Nudies were the opening act; and crying my eyes out at the “final” show, and then again when they returned from their hiatus, because I was so happy to have them back. I own literally every single album, EP, and DVD they’ve ever released, including the UK-only releases, and an old VHS that I had to get transferred onto DVD. So, I’m pretty committed to this relationship. And the point I’m meandering towards, is that it’s always hard for a band to live up to that kind of love when they release a new album, especially when it’s been 14 years since the last full one. Comparisons are inevitable, and let’s face it, how does anything compare to your first love?
Well, with the release of Partypocalypse, the Springbok Nude Girls have just delivered something that has made me fall in love all over again. It. Is. Phenomenal. Is it AfterLifeSatisfaction? No, and nothing ever will be, but it’s pretty fucking close, and arguably the best thing they’ve done since that iconic album. It’s an album that captures the chaos and beauty they’ve always brought us, which somehow also echoes the strange, crazy times we all find ourselves in in 2021. It manages to be raw and refined at the same time, and hints at a slightly more mature approach to their music (we have all grown up a teensy bit since the nineties, after all – but only a teensy bit…), without losing any of the energy they’re famous for. And that energy is going to make for some mind-blowing shows, I suspect. These songs were made to be performed live, and I can’t wait to see the characteristic Nudies’ chemistry on stage again.
They’ve always had a sound that defied pigeonholing, running the gamut from rock to ska to metal to punk, and everything in between, and this album is no different. There are so many great songs, that it’s hard to pick a favourite – currently it’s Get the Picture but that could change, and there’s also a bit in Emerging Submarines that stops me in my tracks every time…conversation cannot even continue – there are some songs that are just so visceral that you have to stop what you’re doing, close your eyes, and take it all in. Partypocalypse delivers songs like this, over and over. It’s that rare kind of album that you are happy to listen to from start to finish, without skipping a single track. And this first love has evolved into something beautiful and made of permanent magic.