Review | Strike In Berlin – “Dancing In Your Living Room EP”


They’re fresh, funky, and offer a whole lot of spunk

Strike In Berlin have added an extra dimension to the South African music scene, which we were perhaps missing before. Notably through their female vocalist, Jess Miller, whose voice is husky, crisp and poignant. The duo, Jess Miller and Martin Kabamba, is based in Pretoria and seems to be influenced by the suave synths of Metronomy, the indie-pop-bop of Two Door Cinema Club, and the playful electro beats of Miike Snow, Daft Punk, and Hot Chip. Today marked the release of their Dancing In Your Living Room EP which was preceded by the release of the music video of the title track last week.

Think cool-cat Joseph Mount armed with dark sunglasses, meets Ke$ha adorned in electric pink, dancing in a strobe-lit club with Sibot and Skrillex smoking dope in a corner. Throw in some French, quirky lyrics, melodious harmonies, and a catchy beat and you have Strike in Berlin’s new EP. They manage to achieve a balance between quirky, upbeat tunes like ‘Dancing in Your Living Room’ and the more sombre ‘Paradise Lost’The EP leans more towards the former, the tunes reminiscent of something you’d sing along to while jumping up and down on your bed in your underwear. I’ll admit to having ‘Dancing in your Living Room’ and ‘Taxi to the Party’ alternating the position of being ‘stuck in my head’.

The EP was recorded in parts – which keyboardist, and electronics master, Martin explained to me, “’Dancing in Your Living Room’ and ‘Memory Glands’ were recorded at Openroom Studios in Greenside for the Converse ‘Get out of the Garage’ competition”—of which Strike in Berlin was a top ten finalists. “These tracks were mastered by Aaron Bastenilli, who has worked with Kimbra, Tiesto and Bono.” ‘High Windows’ was recorded and co-produced in collaboration with Hawkword in their little home studio. And the final two – ‘Taxi to the Party’ and ‘Paradise Lost’ – were recorded at Riccardo Ammatucci’s studio in JHB. “All the production and music I [Martin] did personally, on my laptop while I was procrastinating from studying”.

As much as I’d like to only admire Strike in Berlin’s idiosyncratic and catchy EP, I have a few brief criticisms. The weakest track on the album was ‘High Windows‘ featuring Hawkword, and perhaps did not have the same spirit and character as the rest of the album. While it is great to see local artists collaborating, I don’t believe that this track worked in context and I found that Hawkword’s involvement fragmented the upbeat nature of the EP. Furthermore his input distorted Jess’s beautiful voice, which I believe is a great pity as her vocals are a highlight throughout the album. In a purely instrumental capacity, I believe this collaboration would have worked well – however it just didn’t blend well with the lyricism and actually fragmented the track, and the poppy, sing-a-long nature of the EP.

Furthermore, the music video for ‘Dancing in Your Living Room that preceded the EP was a little bit of a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong – the concept was great, and the playful spirit matched that of the EP. While the video had been filmed well, the editing did not give it justice. The light was too harsh and evocative of florescent, dentistry lights. This made the video appear low budget, and unprofessional. The video seemed to focus more on some awkward dance moves, and shiny pleather couches than the song itself.

However with this being said, the video was fun to watch – Mostly to make an anthropological observation about who was comfortable in front of the camera and who wasn’t. The video corresponded well with the song, even if it wasn’t that aesthetically successful. And it’s received nearly 450 views so far, and I’m rooting for more!

The best news of all is that the Dancing in Your Living Room is available for free on Soundcloud. And is totally worth a listen… make that ten listens, and about twenty-five more, subconsciously, when you get it stuck in your head. A great achievement by this dynamic duo, and a great addition to the SA music repertoire!


Download Dancing In Your Living Room EP


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