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Fruits and Veggies | Ndaa

Ndaa

by Roger Young / 03.06.2011

Filled with raw power and a loose kind of promise Fruits And Veggies long awaited debut EP, Ndaa is a breezy and jittery burst of riptide ska loaded with the sounds of joyous and righteous kids trying to stake their place in the world against the trials of hard drinking, no money and shitty bars. The influences are obvious, Boo!-esque rythms, Gogol Bordello gypsy flourishes, Against Me! lyricism, Hog Hoggidy Hog ska guitar and Skunk Anansie vocal gymnastics blended with ululating and rousing harmonies. It’s the energy with which all this of this is thrown together that makes Fruits And Veggies one of the most cobweb blasting live bands around; they just fuck shit up.

At first it seems kinda strange that they chose the slow burner “The Way, The Truth and The Lies” for their opening track. But lyrically it’s an announcement of their ethos, a manifesto if you will. Purity sings: “They tell you how to live your life, while you’re just trying to get by. I just wanna say that love is the only way.” However the nature of the track is a little rambley, it’s rhythm changes and musical shifts seem a little unconsidered. The insertion of a lyric about the nights getting harder and girls getting harder to troll feels like a tangent. This is the essential stream of consciousness nature of Fruit n Veg; it just doesn’t totally work here.

“More Fire For Mandla” mixes up ululation, maskandi style guitar against a kwela bassline in a song about Durbanites, drinking and never letting the sun stop shining in your eye. Here, more than most tracks on the EP, you can hear FnV maturing while refusing to grow up. It’s distinctly more chilled than their earlier, unrecorded material. Purity’s shifts silkily between English and Zulu like everyone wishes they could, her remarkable voice light and smooth until it slightly dips and cracks as the song builds. It’s sentimental and grounded and pretty skanking.

Fruits and Veggies

“Without a Gwaai Or A Cent” is a celebration of being broke as the night ends against a rapid fire beat. Loopy and Purity harmonise “Two bottles of whiskey, let’s save one for later” in a way that you know they’re drinking them both now. Purity’s voice wails and twists and the song turns into a sing along stomper. “Nobby Creek” is springy pure ska, speedy up rhythms, Purity singing fast, edging herself to skat. Compared to the other tracks it feels a little inessential.

“Laat Ons Waai” opens with a loose and jumpy snare and snappy groovy guitar work, and then alternates between reggae bounce and sped up punk bluster, but again it’s Purity’s voice that pulls it all together, curling her throat around phrases like: “You grab him by the hand, you make him understand, we’re going to bring about this change, today” before slipping into the kind of vocal improvisation that can’t be taught.

“An Embarrassment in E Minor” features the lyric: “Next thing I know I wake up butt naked in the cold, where are my clothes?” and then “That’s the way it goes, you’ve got to ride the flow and lose all control”. It starts off closer to rock but soon builds back to a restless skank with Sweet Lu on drums in tight control of the shifts. “Ngzogwazimja” is a tale of being found by the law to be carrying illegal substances on your person, “Should I run?” queries Purity before the song picks up speed and heads into a growly rocky harangue of the powers that be. The kind of song that raises power fists in mosh pits.

It’s a fine debut even if, at seven tracks, Ndaa could have been trimmed a little. It does fall a little short of the raw energy of their live shows but with this kind of vigour it won’t be long before they’ve mastered the recording process as well. Fruits and Veggies effortlessly pull their myriad influences into their own distinct personality. It’s not like they’re doing anything wildly new but they do it with a sense of humour, lack of pretension and a total punk dedication; it’s the sound of youthful idealism slowly approaching cynicism, bruised egos at dawn and extremely prolific livers.

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RESPONSES (26)
  1. James Bondage says:

    See.

    Positive reviews like this make me want to go listen to the album.

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  2. anothergayboy says:

    This album cover ALONE has got to be the most INVENTIVE in this country I HAVE EVER SEEN!! I wanna buy this album for the cover alone! Now THAT is really saying something.
    And…of course a great review. These guys walk the talk, take the stalk, zing the light/dark fantastic, shift yr mind….YAY!

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  3. A Friend with weed is a friend indeed says:

    You are good friends of this band aren’t you Big Rog?

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  4. miss says:

    I think this band is friends with anyone who’s got a spare ciggie or a drink in their hand. 🙂

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  5. TheGrizzlyLumberjack says:

    where can i snag this ep? one needs to know these things when living in joburg

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  6. JohntheButcher says:

    The Album is fucking rad and so is fruits & veg, schmaak!

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  7. F&V says:

    We’ll be making our up to that neck of the woods at the end of June.

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  8. You're Gay says:

    This band is shit and Purity is fat – not in a thunder thighs way, ugly.

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  9. dudie says:

    I like the album art.

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  10. mynameisgrant. says:

    That album art is so sick!

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  11. thingsthatgobump says:

    Great cover. Seriously, I hate most things but this cover is kiff. I have seen the band play and if the album has the same energy then it is worth the moolah.

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  12. F&V says:

    sweet

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  13. absolute wanker says:

    nice

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  14. Sarah_j_fell says:

    and in cape town? huh huh? Loopy, you kids must get your asses here, there tons of Durban kids here to play with 🙂

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  15. James Bummage says:

    See. If it was a negative review I would have whined like a total bitch… Shit band. Loser fans.

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  16. nee dankie says:

    This is one of the most embarassingly kak bands from South Africa. Ever.

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  17. happy brown says:

    Fruit and Veggies and the Brother Moves On on one stage in Jozi in June, make it happen

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  18. Anonymous says:

    ooooohhhh..this is a very biased review. because word around the camp fire is that roger is their manager. Another mahala great!

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  19. Roger Young says:

    I can’t even manage my own transport arrangement to work in the morning. You want me to try manage a band?

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  20. Friend with weed is a friend indeed says:

    Mr. Walrus

    Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy F&V, the band and there live shows. I enjoy the fact that they are fucked up. Act fucked up. And get fucked up. I doubt they should be proclaimed as role models for a successful society or a pinacles of kool nor do I think they are examples of progress. And I don’t want to be them.

    I have yet to hear their debut album but would imagine that it would be nigh impossible for even Lou Adler, Rick Rubin, Eddy Kramer, John Cale or Jesus (especially since he don’t be loving them) to recreate their live sounds.

    They are an interesting band. Nothing new. Purity has a voice. Nothing orgasmic. Lou can drum sweet. An stragle hair and no shirt suit his passed out on tables ways. Loopy is the crazy eyeyed bicurious beast we all keep chained up inside (for good reason) And yes. I agree. They should be experienced. I can surely imgagine that when one finds oneself stoned and drunk and caught in the electric strobe and hazy smoke – this band of bothers (you could also add an R after the b…that would be A) may indeed appear to be the very spawn of some Dionysian whore goddess- but I am also sure that when one sobers and wakes they realise that that it was nothing but another dream birthed of excess and that these fruits are actually vegetables that were left to long on the street and listening to Durban and her beloved and one may be overcome by shame and a sense of futility…

    Whatever. Fuck. Its early. An the sun is not yet alive. To the jist.

    My bitch is that you drink and smoke and roll with these cats and you have come across as some fan boy hound handing out a reach around. Where is the rhetoric you shat in the faces of the others that tried?

    You like them. You told us so. You were gentle with what you did not like which is not your standard style. Not cool Warus. Not cool.

    Well done to F&V for finally getting something cut. I look forward to hearing it. I hope you dont die a death of aids, violence or excess. You put on a good show when it’s not a show. I hope you find houses and love and a peace in life.

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  21. Mpho says:

    Nice. ‘Ndaa’ is venda for ‘hello’ (aka ‘greetings’). Yes?

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  22. Roger Young says:

    There are many bands I roll with. Some of whom I have been quite vicious to. Friendships and critical honesty are mutually inclusive.

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  23. Cock cock cock says:

    AIDS

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  24. Fuck You says:

    All

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  25. James Klopper says:

    Rad album! Can’t fucking wait for the Cape Town adventure!

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  26. Anonymous says:

    where can I buy this album in Durban??!

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