Kongos: Lunatic

Folk-thumping debut from hairy heirs of 70s pop star.

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It’s easy to see the appeal of Kongos: chanty choruses, breathless rhythms and the kind of tribalist stomp to set festivals alight. In fact, so swiftly have they been embraced by the US that Come With Me Now became the fastest ever single from a debut artist to top Billboard’s Alternative Chart.

As befits the four sons of 70s hit-maker John Kongos (He’s Gonna Step On You Again/Tokoloshe Man), the siblings’ music has an international flavour, the product of South African roots, Greek heritage and homes in both Britain and the States.

But while it’s infectious, it tends to miss as much as it hits. At their best – I’m Only Joking, Hey I Don’t Know – they sound like a fusionist mix of Slim Chance and Mumford & Sons. At their worst… well, think Toploader. They might be slaying them elsewhere, but we’re going to take a bit more convincing.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.