And now for something that became more popular than I expected.
What is it?
Lunatic is the 2012 not-actually-a-debut record from the band KONGOS.
How does it sound?
They’re playin’ sex on the sampler mix:
Why this pick?
It’s an astonishingly good record, really.
Also, I already did a full write-up for the follow-up release, Egomaniac. Whoopsie.
I can thank J. Michael Straczynski (the Babylon 5 creator & head writer) for pointing me at the band, as he’d periodically link to one or another of their videos over on Twitter. After the first couple of times I thought, “Okay, Joe’s really into this band, let’s give it a listen.” It was the concert-type video for “Hey I Don’t Know” and I was hooked. Thanks, JMS!
Just, if you do get into KONGOS, be aware of who’s around when you play their records; they’re a bit cuss-prone. Mind the presence of bosses and small children!
Which songs are the highlights?
Most of them, really. Obviously you’ve got the big singles, “Come With Me Now” and “Hey I Don’t Know,” but there’s also “Escape” which is just absolutely lovely, and “Sex On The Radio” & “Kids These Days” are pretty good too.
The US release of the record ends strong, with “Take Me Back,” “It’s A Good Life,” and “This Time I Won’t Forget.” No dumping of the weakest songs in the back half of the CD here, no way.
Which songs don’t work so well?
“As We Are” and “Traveling On” are a bit meh, unfortunately. I don’t think slow songs will ever be KONGOS’ strong suit.
Which album did you almost pick in favor of this one?
Egomaniac is the only other one I have, so… process of elimination, there. And I certainly wasn’t going to leave the band out of the listing if I didn’t have to.
Any final thoughts?
I love both of the KONGOS records I have so far, and eagerly await their next release. Luckily that seems to be slated for first thing next year.
Weirdly, I thought they were an unknown niche band for ages, then I started hearing “Come With Me Now” in restaurants and such, and realized that they started making it big. Good job, guys! I’m sure those licensing deals for using a couple of their songs in ads for various games and shows and movies didn’t hurt.
Kudos to the band for going all-in on trying to make accordion solos cool, too. You may have noticed I used a couple of those in the sampler mix? Yeah. That’s a thing.
I appreciate the accordion use, but… well, maybe it’s a South African thing, but it never feels right in their songs to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like Lunatic. Not as much as you, that’s certain, but I do like it/them. I suspect Weird Al ruined the accordion for me.
The accordion thing is firmly in the “well that’s kind of quirky” side of things for me, I admit. It’s not part of the band’s direct appeal.
I look forward to the new album in January; the first single (“Keep Your Head”) is practically my theme song.