SHOCKING THE WORLD all over again.
Taliban Man. by Krom .
WE HAVE seen it all before. Well, not quite. The Cambodian band led by Christopher Minko accompanied by one of the finest singers in Cambodia, Sophea Chamroeun. Superstar in her own right. The band have their sights set firmly on 2015 being their year, and listening to the most recent material it just might be.
A demo for their new track Taliban Man fell into my inbox. I put on the headphones...
The dark vocals of Minko juxtaposed against the haunting melodies works in this, their latest track. The subject matter as ever disturbing, but doesn't cause offence. Minko is an observer in a world gone slightly mad rather than a provoker of debate. If the lyrics seem too direct it is because they are supposed to be. This compared with the hauntingly beautiful vocals of Chamroeun makes for a powerful potent stew rather than a watery soup.
The track begins with gunshots and doesn't really let go until the end.
|Photo By Alasdair McLeod - Bangkok Rooftop concert.|
Cast your mind back, gentle reader, way back, way, way, back.... Dusty temple ruins teleport up above the city, far, far form here we look up and we look down, we float above the temple complex and the magnificence of that glorious civilization. These are the images that the backing vocals conjure up in this listener's mind
Centipedes battle for money, spiders shelter in perilous dwellings Hearts broken, lives lost, above us there is hope. Hope is a bitch most of the time, but she is there, always. Hope stands in the shape of a Chicago Typewriter
(That's Tommy Gun to me and you.)
Taliban Man invites the listener to consider the impossibilities of man-kind as only Krom can. Murder, death, manipulation, all Minko's signature themes are in here.
Krom's lyrics ask scary questions and answer them. Sometimes with such brutal honestly that you find yourself wondering where the question came from.... Ah "From the heart."....Land too scary to venture for fear of landmines. Covered up, overgrowth, branches, fallen trees. While most of the world wanders around with selfie sticks Krom are on the frontlines of world conflicts taking wide-angled shots of atrocities many care not to think about. I asked the band about this.
KROM: This KROM song is dedicated to the hundreds of thousands of innocent children killed in war and civil conflict. The lyrics can be equally applied to the thousands of Jewish children gassed in Nazi concentration camps in WW2, to the multitude of children who died under the brutal regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia, the recent kidnapping of innocent children by Boko Haram and the innocent children currently being killed by US drone bombs in Afghanistan. Saddest of all is the recognition that even in the 21st Century, humanity continues to use innocent children as tools of war and civil conflict.
Let's go underground. Descend into the sewers of hell. The Taliban Man takes us there.
Charles Bukowski once wrote "Nothing worth a shit got wrote in paradise."
Minko understands this.
They have the skill to break into World Music. Christopher is a wonderful musician, classically trained, steady on his path and gaining a foothold.
The band came over to Bangkok last year. The artistic community here were spellbound and realized that they were watching something special. Minko's strong grip on the neck of his electric acoustic and steady chord arrangements, the haunting beauty of the sister's vocals. I was impressed to the point I took their CD to London.
London loved it.
And so should you.
The band and production team are:
Music: Christopher Minko + Sophea Chamroeun
Guitar(s) / Lyrics / Vocals: Christopher Minko
Harmony Vocals: Sophea Chamroeun
Produced by James "Mao" Sokleap
Recorded in Phnom Penh: February 2015
Mastered at The Carvery (UK)
A Metal Postcard Release