Stoker – Stoker (Self-Released)

Genre: Rock

You might not know it, but South Africa is home to a competitive and diverse rock scene – and following in the footsteps of Shadowclub, Taxi Violence and aKING are Stoker.

There are clear tones of all three bands in their music, but anyone who is familiar with the above trio will understand that it’s no bad thing indeed.

Comprised of two sets of brothers, the Bornman’s and the O’Kennedy’s, Stoker’s music is as tight as their family relations as they release their debut album full of dirty rock ‘n roll.

On the face of things, instant comparisons can be made with fellow countryman Taxi Violence, whose new EP Shape and Form 1 scored 8/10 on RUSHONROCK. But scratch a little deeper and you’ll find a band more nuanced and with a wider range of influences than their first few songs suggest.

Keep Swirling introduces their debut album with the fire and brimstone that any act who had been mentioned alongside the Cape Town natives – and that’s certainly not a bad thing, but by Evil Shaker II it’s clear that Stoker are their own men.

While the first quarter of the songs are designed to bring you up, Forever Drive brings the resting heart rate of the record back to a more sustainable level and gives the band the chance to show off their softer side and lyrical creativity.

Lead singer Chris Bornman has the type of strong, adaptable voice that means Stoker can switch around through style at will. Transylvanian Summer takes on a slightly garage rock feel as the vocals and guitar are stripped back.

Speed Night continues this diversion from the original path laid down in the first three songs and it’s a lot more frenetic and energetic than anything else on the album, with the vocals even taking on a growling quality.

This is a debut album with tremendous quality and potential, it’s one that keeps you guessing and comes up with new ways to delight and entertain. Stoker have hit the nail on the head with this one.