The sun is rising for Early Hours - South Africa’s youngest stars on the horizon. The band rapidly rose to national prominence after winning Converse’s Get Out Of The Garage competition in 2014 and their vibrant and spirited sound has been described as a unique blend of britpop and afrorock. They have since conquered abroad with massive audiences in the USA, UK and Canada.
With so much hype surrounding them I just HAD to give their EP, “First Light” , a spin to experience it for myself.
“Dance Along” is the first track on the EP and it is my favourite by a long shot. The title is a foreshadowing of the magic to some, since it ignites your inner-dance-in-the-forest-hippie and you just want to Dance Along from the start of both the song and the EP. The on-trend maskanda guitar makes it a great contender on home soil and stands it's ground next to heavy weights like Al-Bairre(RIP) and Shortstraw.
The second song also had me grooving and by now I could see myself dancing with a drink in my hand at a festival like a real Earth child. Unfortunately, as the song winds down, it loses some of that groove and the amazing feel of the bass and percussions that gave the song its magic. I thought they lost it right there, but as the third song continued playing I was halfway back to the festival. The song had its cocktail potential, with its title “Mojito Midnight”, but it lacked some of the elements that was initially introduced to the listener. By track three they have established their sound, and it is time to rock my socks if they were to leave a lasting impression.
Track 04 was a game changer for the band earlier this year, as it reached #1 on the Indie Rock Chart on the popular music streaming platform Soundcloud, after having 1.4M streamers. “Smells Like Summer” probably worked better as a single, since it is a lekker tune in itself. I, however, could not see how it fitted in with the first three songs of the EP, since its sound, lyrics and some other elements is quite different from the other songs. Nonetheless, it is a catchy song, but it was not a personal favourite.
Their final song also has a unique sound that isn’t similar to the first three songs, but it still shows off some of that "Early Hours Spark". Certainly not a bad way to wrap up this short lived musical journey, and kind of leaves one wanting a little more.
With only 5 songs to get me hooked, they did a pretty good job. This is mostly thanks to "Dance Along" that has become my personal theme song that makes the sun shine a little brighter when things get gloomy. They mentally sweep you away to the banks of the UP the Creek river or the dusty streets of Koppi and make me count down the days to the next time I can dance along in front of a big stage.
“Dance Along” has been streamed an incredible 480k times on Spotify alone (it had 60k streams on SoundCloud), so definitely give it a listen on one of the streaming platforms or purchase the EP on Bandcamp. More than half a million listeners can't be wrong!