Adriaan van Heerden

With futuristic vibes and genre-bending tropes, Dark Soul Safari gives us their latest avant-garde-rock offering entitled “Running With Scissors”. The Ep comprises 4 tracks which range from country-inspired and folky singing to synth-infested sections that will heavily remind you of post-punk acts like Joy Division and The Cure. Let’s dissect the EP and ponder its experimental yet solid tracks and see what they bring to the table. 

The EP begins with the creepy track “That’s How I Roll”, which deals with a road rage incident. With lyrics like: “Your useless existence reduced to a splat” and “Alone in my cage, concealed with rage” juxtaposed against this super-chill brand of beach rock, I can imagine my favourite NetFlix crime thriller protagonist on a killing spree. This song would definitely fit shows like Dexter or Sons of Anarchy, as it paints a graphic scenario in my mind in a very uber-theatrical way. The second track gave the album its title, and it begins with a much slower tempo than the previous track. One thing I really loved about this particular track had an art/psychedelic rock feel to it because of the strings playing in the background. It’s a commentary on the community and humanity as a whole rather than a single person and his foolish evil acts. The song doubles in speed and has a super fast-bass line (which hit me just at the right moment). The third track “Jim the Preacher” deals with religious corruption and exploitation of the masses. At this point, the lyrics have completed the recipe of society’s fall, and the music/vocals cover it with a shroud of uplifting mid-tempo Alternative Rock. To call this a winning formula would be an understatement. The fourth and final track “Still Chasing Windmills” ends the album on a positive note. The discrepancy between the lyrics and music resolves as the song is inspired by the famously full of hope novel Don Quixote. It has a soothing drum line accompanied by a vocal refrain that can only remind me of Elvis Presley and The Beatles. 

At the end of the day, albums like “Running With Scissors” teach us that making “avant-garde” and experimental music doesn’t always necessarily mean inventing a new genre, but it could rather mean using famous elements from beloved genres in a new unique way. Adriaan Van Heerden wrote a compelling and solid record that seamlessly mixed pop, post-punk, synth, new wave, alternative rock, and progressive rock and managed to stay fresh and listenable through and through. With a stellar production from the notorious Andy Brook, these ideas have been fleshed out and introduced to the world beautifully. I heavily recommend this to fans of Radiohead, Sigur Ros and Joy Division.

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