Fokofpolisiekar - Kajuitkoors (Cover Artwork)


Kajuitkoors (2020)

Punkskelm Records

2020 has been an impactful year. Between the pandemic, racial unrest, unemployment, or yet another stupid US presidential election, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single soul that hasn’t been deeply affected b y the past 10 months. I’m sure that many musicians and “recording artists”, cooped up with no shows to play, have been inspired by world events and personal experiences of 2020 to make music that reflects the upheavals of the year. And I’m sure that, sadly, many of those songs are quite unlistenable.

When I heard that Capetonian pop-punk power-house, Fokofpolisiekar, was releasing an EP titled “Kajuitkoors” (more-or-less pronounced “ka-yate-kworse”, and literally translating to “cabin fever” from Afrikaans), I was nervous that it might be full of eye-rolling “2020”-isms.

Some of the song titles are a bit predictable (“Raak Siek, Raak Gesond” = “Get Sick, Get Healthy” and “Ons Is Die Virus” = “We Are The Virus”) so I was a bit hesitant going in. However, once I sat down and listened to the EP and really soaked it up and picked through the lyrics (my Afrikaans is rudimentary), I almost felt a bit ashamed for having ever doubted Fokof in the first place. The band has been cranking out arena-ready pop-punk crowd-pleasers for nearly 20 years now. They know what they are doing. Frontman Francois van Coke has always had a way with words that is equal parts existential and satirical.

While Fokof has dipped their toes into the “pop-rock” pool more than a few times as they’ve aged, their greatest strength is still in writing anthemic bangers. The highlight of “Kajuitkoors” is the addition of “Stfu” and “Ons Is Die Virus” to the band’s arsenal. “Stfu” opens up the EP with a bang. Oddly enough, the now-iconic phrase is screamed in English, a rarity for the famously Afrikaans-only band. The song rips with hints of grunge as well some skate punk. It definitely has the potential to be a fan favorite.

The next winner on the EP is “Ons Is Die Virus”. Fokof has always had a knack for writing rowdy sing-alongs. Their live shows are sweaty, triumphant affairs with lots of pile-ons and crowd surfing and their set-lists are stacked. “Virus” clocks in somewhere between early-2000s Vagrant Records and mid-1990s Fat Wreck Chords. The final minute really sends the song home with spitfire accusations (“ons is die siekte / ons is die virus” = “we are the sickness / we are the virus”) and some furiously melodic guitar work.

Fokof doesn’t break any new ground with “Kajuitkoors” but instead they demonstrate that they are as good as ever when it comes to their craft. Don't sleep on "Ons Is Die Virus".