• Henriël Veldtmann

Place your bets! Winner Guaranteed - Deon Bakkes And The Stolen Horses 'Thrice A Pair' EP Re

I once had the privilege - for an hour or two - to be on equal standing (or rather “seating”) with Deon Bakkes. We were both passengers on the backseat of a car ride from Pretoria to Joburg. He played DJ on this particular trip and introduced the other occupants to some rather obscure and unique sounds: Balkan Punk Jazz and bands like “Kultur Shock”... It’s always great to hear new music, especially if it’s something that’s so far removed from what one hears on a daily basis. In hindsight, it was also a very insightful playlist. Having seen The Stolen Horses perform live a number of times before, I had previously thought of them as more of a “jazz outfit with some quirks”. But Thrice A Pair definitely exhibits much more of the punk side evident in Deon’s playlist on that car ride, all while remaining true to the very unique sound that this band presents (I mean, how many bands can you think of that play a kazoo - non-ironically - and make it one of your favourite elements of the show…?) This new EP is intense and conjures up images of sitting at a poker table in a bar in a hot, dusty town in the middle of nowhere. Yet, by no means is it boring. Quite the opposite – the Tarantino-esque “funsanity” presented here had me partying all throughout. It’s almost a little bit “Triplets of Belleville” meets Sid Vicious. And that’s a great thing. While definitely a touch more aggressive than their previous release, Neither Here Nor There, Thrice a Pair is still unmistakably Deon Bakkes and the Stolen Horses. Thrice a Pair starts out at a hefty gallop with The Horses’ take on Dark Eyes, a jazz standard with a fascinating history (go read up about it on WikiPedia). After setting the tone, Bakkes introduces his “stolen horses” with These Are My Horses before getting to the hint of a gambling theme presented in the EP’s title and artwork, on Double or Nothing. And just when you think you know what to expect - while still sticking to the theme - they kick you hard with a cover of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades – no doubt the liveliest and coolest version of this song you’ve ever heard (there’s even video evidence somewhere of me losing my mind to this track live at Park Acoustics). They end off the EP with two tracks originally present on their previous release, but in homage to one of the greatest live music venues in Gauteng (and the band’s self-described “true home”), these were recorded during a live performance at Railways Café in Irene. The great thing about music like this, is that it’s not that easy to compare to anything people would know. And that’s great, because they HAVE to listen to it to understand. Because if the most mainstream bands you can think of to even remotely compare an act to are Man Man and Gogol Bordello, you know Deon Bakkes and The Stolen Horses are doing something genuinely authentic, and doing it right. Get yourself a copy of Thrice a Pair pronto and get yourself to their next live show to experience this phenomenal band in the flesh! Thrice a Pair was recorded, mixed and mastered by Byron Muller at Audio Nebula and Markon Recording Studios in Johannesburg. The EP’s fantastic, psychedlic cover art is by Annemarie Buchner of Ale and Cake Illustration. Also read Fitchfork’s recent interview with Deon Bakkes.

#deonbakkes #stolenhorses #jazzpunk #ep #epreview #thriceapair

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