The track ‘Great Escape’ is the WONDERboom’s latest material since 2011
Rock culture, at its very essence, spewed its propaganda in the early noughties as the millennium rolled in. 16-year-olds throughout South Africa weren’t consumed by the digital plethora of augmented reality gaming, social media and an abundance of trend conscious platforms. Screen time was limited, bars were plenty and live gigs were a must. Posters and flyers were spread through the streets instead of Facebook events, and every teen and student were given access to exploring a culture with roots, an avenue to experiment with their identities and a platform to sink their teeth into rock shows that encouraged sing-a-longs and ‘alt’ communities.
Today, and the days that have led up to it, are a different offspring of culture. If you’re like me, and have kept your memories in tact (despite sneaking into bars and indulging in underage drinking – because, well rock encouraged it) then your nostalgia will warm over you about a band that has been around since the nineties. And not just any band at that – Wonderboom, which started making music with ska beats accompanied by a flute, with what felt like a huge boner for The Red Hot Chilli Peppers at that stage, have come a long way since their debut video for ‘Smile Pantsula.’
With hits like ‘Shadows’, ‘Charlie’ and ‘Afrika (Juluka)’ Wonderboom were like waking up on the right side of bed. Their fans are dedicated, authentic and truly South African, and that side of the experience hasn’t changed, but their music certainly has. As the years have passed, their growth and technical musicality has evolved, tuning a more contemporary solid rock sound with ‘Great Escape’ which will come off their forthcoming 9th studio album.
In explaining the process for their new album, vocalist Citto Otto says: “These songs must stand on their own legs and be strong – electrically or acoustically. We’ve also really been having fun, exploring new ideas in the way we play our instruments and write songs. We want this new album to represent us as a band.”
The music industry has experienced a 5 year absence of new music from Wonderboom, but their aim is to stick around. 2016 marks their 20th year in the business, making the band one of the longest-existing bands in South Africa. Catch them this year at Oppikoppi, relive their hits and get acquainted with the new material.