1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Archive for the category “Springbok Nude Girls”

Dimmer – Springbok Nude Girls

The Fat Lady Sings - Springbok Nude Girls

The Fat Lady Sings – Springbok Nude Girls

By 2004, the Springbok Nude Girls had been going nearly 10 years with their light shining brightly. But in 2004, things got ‘Dimmer’ as this previously unreleased track appeared on their best of compilation ‘The Fat Lady Sings’. And there were possibly some fans of the band who thought, when hearing this that the light that shone so bright, might have starter to dim as its not as noisy or dense as some of their earlier stuff.

There is none of the raw freneticness of ‘Bubblegum On My Boots’ or the scuzzy sound of ‘Spaceman’ or the grittiness of ‘I Love You’. Neither does it have the quieter relectiveness of ‘Blue Eyes’. Rather it is more (dare I say it) a pop rock track with an orchestral sound swirling around a catchy refrain of ‘dimmer, dimmer, dimmer’. But there is sufficient of the old SNG’s sound to keep us interested and it would also make a gentler introduction to the band for those who had not yet heard ‘Blue Eyes’ and were not quite ready to dive into the full on sounds of some of their earlier material. It also showed the versatility of the band, revealing a more tune driven side to their repertoire.

And for those hardcore fans there are still parts of the song that recall that sound they loved with Arno Carstens’ soaring and growling vocals along with the warm trumpet of Adriaan Brand still popping into the track every now and then.

‘Dimmer’ may not be every Springbok Nude Girls fans’ cup of witblitz, but it is a great rock tune which is certainly worth a listen. And for those hardcore fans who were worried this this track was a sign of out with  the old, in with the Nude, they only had to wait a couple of years for the opening track to their 2006 offering, ‘Peace Breaker’ (a song called ‘Gang Gang’) to be reassured as they return to their roots with an almost metal guitar intro.

Where to find it:
The Fat Lady Sings – Springbok Nude Girls (2001), Epic, CDEPC8190

Video:

Another Universe – Arno Carstens

Another Universe - Arno Carstens

Another Universe – Arno Carstens

So, what do you do when you’ve been the lead singer of one of the biggest bands in the country and you decide to break up the band (again). Do you twiddle your thumbs and live off the royalties of past glories, or do you go and make another album, the title track of which is as brilliant and memorable as anything you did in a group?

Few lead singers of major bands have really gone on to forge a successful solo career – Sting and to a lesser degree Freddie Mercury come to mind – but to that list we can add Arno Carstens who, after one of the many final Springbok Nude Girl final gigs ever, decided to make the rather magnificent ‘Another Universe’ album with its rather magnificent title track.

Starting off with a delicate guitar intro during which Arno comes in with his ‘made to rock’ vocals, the song builds to a soaring chorus which is perfectly suited to Arno’s voice. Maybe not quite as noisy as some of the Nude Girls stuff – this one sits closer to their ‘Blue Eyes’ than perhaps their ‘Smiley Skull Of Faith’ – it could easily have ended up on a Nude Girl’s album except that it lacks that warm trumpet sound that Adriaan Brand brought to their sound.

‘Another Universe’ is a laid back rock track that is certainly not from another universe, it is firmly grounded in the solid rock traditions of Earth, and that’s what one wants from your music don’t you?

Where to find it:
Another Universe – Arno Carstens, 2003, Epic, CDEPC8256

Video:

Bubblegum On My Boots – Springbok Nude Girls

Neanderthal 1 - Springbok Nude Girls

Neanderthal 1 – Springbok Nude Girls

If, way back in 1995, you had heard about The Springbok Nude Girls, but had never heard their music and, feeling lucky, you went out and bought their debut album, ‘Neanderthal 1’, then ‘Bubblegum On My Boots’ would have been the first SNG song that you heard as it opens the album. And it’s not a bad introduction to the band, although you may have been a little fooled at first by the rather melodic and mellow intro with its coolly plucked guitar while somewhere in the distance a muted trumpet calls out to you.

Then along comes Arno Carstens vocals and you begin to wonder. There is something a little sinister about them, something a little otherworldy. But before you have had much chance to get unsettled, the Neanderthal is let loose, introduced by a ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’-ish guitar snippet before the primal thumping beat assaults you and Arno whoops and shrieks like and man out with his club, trying to bash himself some dinner.

There is something chaotic and yet controlled about this song as it swings between the quieter, warm moments and the grungy thrash out. Having heard this, you were either seduced by these Nude Girls or you hated them. Or it even may have left you feeling a bit confused. However, those who were seduced were numerous and this track kick started one of the biggest stories in South African music in the nineties. When it came to making interesting and invigorating rock, Arno and the boys certainly knew what they were doing and with ‘Bubblegum On My Boots’ they really gave it some stick.

Where to find it:
Neaderthal 1 – Springbok Nude Girls, Bluegum Records (1995), CDSNG1

Video:

Shot – Springbok Nude Girls

Springbok Nude Girls

Springbok Nude Girls

The Springbok Nude Girls’ ‘Shot’ had the honour of being one of the 20 songs to feature on the very first South African Rock Digest charts which first appeared on 30 July 2000. It sat at 11 that week and then dropped off the chart the following week, so its run on that particular chart was short lived. However, as we all know, chart performance does not necessarily reflect how good a song is. Some great songs never made the Springbok top 20 (Bright Blue’s ‘Weeping’ for example), while some dreadful songs spent weeks at number 1 (The Klaxon’s ‘Clap Clap Sound).

‘Shot’ is a fast-paced rocker with Arno Carstens’ voice soaring over racing drums and rushing guitars in a song that threatens to lose control, but just manages to hold it together in an edgy James Bond-eqsue helter skelter chase down winding mountain roads. But like the James Bond car chase, there is never a loss of the suave swagger.

‘Shot’ appeared on the Nude Girls’ 2000 album ‘Surpass The Powers’ and it just about does what the album title says it should. It’s a powerful tack but does it surpass the power of some of their previous offerings? Well, I’ll leave that for you to debate amongst yourselves, but it is certainly up there in terms of power-rock offerings from a band that certainly surpassed most other SA bands not only of that era, but perhaps of all time.

Where to find it:
The Fat Lady Sings – Springbok Nude Girls (2001), Epic, CDEPC8190
Surpass The Powers – Springbok Nude Girls (2000), Epic, CDEPC8105

Video:

I Love You – Springbok Nude Girls

The Fat Lady Sings - Springbok Nude Girls

The Fat Lady Sings – Springbok Nude Girls

Many of us, I suspect, spent a lot of teenage hours wondering what someone whom we fancied would say if you told them that you loved them. Would they reject you or would they admit to having similar feelings about you? This is one of the great angsts of growing up that almost all of us suffer through.

I once met someone who went to school with Arno Carstens, the lead singer of the Springbok Nude Girls and from what they said, its not too surprising that Carstens has no problems asking the question in the Nude Girls’ ‘I Love You’. He has that confidence and swagger that most of us envy. And this shows through in the cocksure way he sings ‘What would you say if I said I love you’ in his inimatable way.

And the rest of the Nude Girls gather around to support him with their trade mark warm brassy sounds and this song also includes a slightly trippy organ interlude. This is a rather strange song in that it doesn’t rely totally on the drums and guitars to create that dirty grungy sound. There are some gravelly guitars but it is the trumpet, voice and organ that star on this epic track. Like the hoped for response to our admission of amor, we responded to the Springbok Nude Girls’ question by say, yes, we love you too, especially this track.

Where to find it:
The Fat Lady Sings – Springbok Nude Girls (2001), Epic, CDEPC8190

Video:

Super Girl – Springbok Nude Girls

Surpass The Powers - Springbok Nude Girls

Surpass The Powers -Springbok Nude Girls

By the time 2000’s ‘Surpass The Powers’ came out, South Africa was well acquainted with the Springbok Nude Girls and their particular brand of rock. ‘Super Girl’ which was taken from that album was another example of just how good they were as a band.

Listening to the opening edgy guitar and ominous drumming, I can’t help thinking that Arno Carstens and the boys had been sitting listening to their Asylum Kids & Tribe After Tribe albums as, before the vocals kick in, one could easily believe that you were listening ot a track from the aftermentioned bands.

However, Arno’s roaring, soaring vocals quickly dispel those thoughts as his disctinct voice grabs hold of the song at times throttling it at other times seducing the ‘Super Girl’ of which he sings with his angelic falsetto.

This is a pounding piece of music that is tight, highly strung, yet has a vulnerable side to it that makes it compelling listening. But then again, would we have expected anything less from the Super (Springbok Nude) Girl(s)?

Where to find it:
Surpass The Powers – Springbok Nude Girls (2000), Epic, CDEPC8105

Video:

Smiley Skull Of Faith – Springbok Nude Girls

Smiley Skull Of Faith – Springbok Nude Girls (Stripped down head music)

Relaxzor – Springbok Nude Girls

Relaxzor – Springbok Nude Girls

The year was 2000 and there were rumours in the air that the Nude Girls were going to call it a day. Then came ‘Smiley Skull of Faith’, a hard hitting song showing the Nude Girls at their confident best. At the time, it was hard to believe that this would be the last we would hear from them.

As history shows, they went on to call it a day a few more times, so we needn’t have worried. But had ‘Smiley Skull of Faith’ been their last offering, we could have sat around reminiscing and saying, ‘what a way to go’. Starting with a eerie keyboard and edgy guitar, the song thunders from the atmospheric to a barrage of drums at around the 1 minute mark. It then settles into tuneful rock with Arno Carstens trademark desperate howl which is tempered by his pensive low growl.

The band did not sound like one about to break up. They were tight and producing some of their best material and few of their songs were better at that time than ‘Smiley Skull of Faith’. The song made it to number 23 on the South African Rock Digests’ top 50 songs of 2000.

Where to find it:
Relaxzor – Springbok Nude Girls (2001), Epic, CDEPC8148

Video:

Unworldly Beauty – Springbok Nude Girls

Unworldly Beauty – Springbok Nude Girls (The clue is in the title)

Springbok Nude Girls -  The Fat Lady Sings, Best of 1995-2001

Springbok Nude Girls – The Fat Lady Sings

‘Unworldly Beauty’ is one of the Springbok Nude Girl’s quieter songs. It begins with a laid back, semi-mournful trumpet led intro that has a slight 70’s feel to it and it returns to this riff throughout the song. Theo Crous’ guitar is kept in check by some lush orchestral arrangements which prevents the song from being too noisy for your mum to like.

The song was one of the stand out tracks on the Nude Girl’s 2001 offering ‘Relaxzor’ which featuring the production skills of Kevin Shirley, a local lad who had worked with the likes of the Black Crowes, Aerosmith and Iron Maiden. It’s not quite a power ballad and it’s not a full on rock track. It seems to fit snugly between the two in a sort of Nirvana meets the Counting Crows in Herb Alpert’s lounge kind of way.

The Nude Girls certainly knew how to rock hard when they wanted to, but they were also very adept at slowing things down slightly as ‘Unworldly Beauty’ shows.

Where to find it:

Relaxzor – Springbok Nude Girls (2001), Epic, CDEPC8148
The Fat Lady Sings – Springbok Nude Girls (2001), Epic, CDEPC8190

Video:

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: