This is a review I did of December Streets debut album, This Is, for Perdeby. It was published on 27 August 2012.
“I know we are free, where we want to be. I know we are free, living enough to be,” chant indie rockers December Streets collectively in the climax of “Coming Home”, the first song off their debut album. With unabating energy, “Coming Home”, as well as the rest of the songs on This Is, speaks of carefree splendour and uninhibited fun. The album is composed of catchy, feel-good pop tunes that include scatterings of ska, courtesy of the jovial trumpet and saxophone which weave a gold thread through all 15 tracks.
December Streets are masters of creating tunes that radio listeners have no problem gobbling up enthusiastically. Uncomplicated melodies and easly remembered lyrics have ensured that tracks such as “Fire Through The Window” and “My Name” have enjoyed extensive airplay on 5FM as well as TuksFM. These tracks have been re-recorded on This Is along with new material.
The African-inspired “Wazungu” is probably the most experimental song, with December Streets sticking to their tried and tested formula for creating party anthems. “Sing, sing, sing with me,” commands lead singer Tristan Coetzee and despite some resistance, you can’t help but do just that.
The chorus of “Got That Feeling” is reminiscent of retro indie rockers The Plastics. Nico Van Loggerenberg’s lead guitar stands out in this track and is an asset that could have elevated the album’s soundscape substantially if it were used more.
“Who Needs Shoes” starts off with a laidback reggae vibe before the pace quickens with the addition of the trumpet. The song is punctuated by Coetzee’s “whoa-oh’s”, which seem to make a frequent and slightly irksome appearance on the album.
December Streets have just enough ska in them to make you want to groove to their music, and just enough pop in them to make them accessible to commercial audiences. But that’s the thing about the songs on This Is: they are just enough. You will find yourself tapping your fingers on the steering wheel in traffic when they play, but once you get to your destination, they ultimately become forgettable.