I.R.O.K. – The Intergalactic Republic of Kongo [REVIEW]

Let’s be honest, on paper, or even, for that matter, typed on a computer screen the words “rock-rave” when combined with that hyphen usually don’t bode well. In fact, I wouldn’t blame you for running a mile at it’s mere utterance. I mean look at what Six-60 or Kora do. But here, the executioner of this particular example of the usually destined-to-be-dismal clash-of-sound hybrid-genre, Mike Title – is a man, it seems, in possession of vision, soul and wit. And, in precisely the right proportions, not only can he pull off this dangerous alchemy – but actually make it totally work (ie nothing like those aforementioned aberrations of NZ music).

Imagine if Jesus Jones didnt suck. Or if Pop Will Eat Itself and KLF and Prodigy got it on together at a Parliament/Funkadelic show. Or, better yet, imagine if Das Racist had more than one idea before they split up.

I.R.O.K stands for Intergalactic Republic of Kongo and their debut self titled album is relentless; sample and synth heavy but happy to pilfer it’s inspirations from far and wide and pillage almost anything that moves. But it’s not all noisy as f–k and crazy-annoying (although these elements obviously do feature in spades – and I say that with admiration, fyi) – on OO AA OO there’s a definite TVOR sound seeping through that’s just awesome; if anything, I wish there was a little bit more of this particular sonic elsewhere on the record – it’d be a welcome reprieve from the elsewhere onslaughts.

Tracks like “God” or “Destroy” is like if PiL and first album Klaxons got together. Tribal rhythms of “I Work” (featured here last week) clash against bombastic synth explosions and North African sound-scapes. And the clarion-like “All My Children” replete with it’s steel-drums and a death-defying synthetic bass sounds like if The xx took a shit load of amphetamines. While “Earthy Girls” reclaims cheesy nineties rave-synths for a football terrace onslaught.

This is not an album for the faint of heart, or for those without a sense of adventure or humour. And, to be fair, too much in one dose could probably induce, nausea, vomiting, and / or possible convulsions; in which case medical advice and removal from stereo is recommended. On the other hand it’d be excellent for pissing off the neighbours, and if you like $noregazZzm you might like this.

RATING : PRETTY COOL

I have always struggled with a numerical scale; it feels so finite and arbitrary.

So the CHEESE ON TOAST scale looks a little something like this :

FREAKIN’ AWESOME / JUST AWESOME / REALLY GREAT / GREAT / GOOD / PRETTY COOL / NOT BAD / COULD BE BETTER / PRETTY BAD, ACTUALLY / NOT RECOMMENDED FOR EARS

Watch the music video for Earthy Girls here


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