By Vanessa

So you think you can bounce?

If you have seen Crimson House live, you’ll totally get the title of their latest album, “Bounceology”. Because what do we do when we see this carnival-like, fun-loving band live? We BOUNCE! If you have not seen them live yet, read on. With the release of this stunning new album, we’ll let you know exactly where you can catch them and BOUNCE!

The first time I caught these guys live, was at the Beach Party at STRAB in 2017, held annually in Ponta Malonga, Mozambique. It was my very first STRAB and having Crimson House as an introduction to what was lying ahead for the rest of the festival, was simply perfect. They had a lot of stuff happening on stage. I recall seeing a girl playing the guitar with sparks flying off it, in what seemed like a grinder to the chords. The drummer had more energy than Bruce Fordyce in his hey-day. The Cirque-de-Soleil feel that rose over the beach as trapeze artists flung themselves off fabric connected to some kind of artistic scaffolding, energized the crowd to such a degree, that all they could do was smile and, well… BOUNCE!

Crimson House is known for their carnival style. The music is fun, light and energetic. Their charisma on stage is fuelled by the happiness they create inside the hearts of their fans and anyone who has been to a live performance of theirs can testify: these guys really do know how to make you dance.

Crimson House - photo by Small Town Music
Crimson House at STRAB
(photo by Small Town Music)

They class themselves as a Gypsy Band and I have to agree. Listening to their new album right now, I want to jump into my Narnia cupboard and dress up in my most colourful dresses and scarves; barefoot and complete with all the jewellery I own, adorned in glitter, sashes and bells. And while I’m supposed to be cooking supper, I cannot help but wonder if I should be preparing tapas, sangria and meze platters instead of boring old spaghetti. I feel like inviting the entire Woodstock over for snacks and drinks, but behold… I shall wait for the weekend.

Crimson House will be launching this fabulous new album on Saturday, 21 September 2019 at The Mercury in Cape Town and yes, of course, I’m going.

The opening track is one that you will sing in the shower, teach your children and save as a road trip tune on your playlist. Titled “Unicorns”, it describes the epitome of their light-heartedness, and many truths are spoken in the lyrics. Naturally, the vocals of Riaan Smit – unique and singled out – gives this tune all the oomph it needs as an opening track, combined with the serenade of both alto and baritone sax, as well as banjo, bass, drums, guitar and vocals throughout the entire album. It’s enough to make any fan’s chest swell with pride at how much is actually going for this band.

Okay, so…

For those who are not yet quite familiar with this band: shame on you, but the purpose of STM is to educate, entertain and inform. So we’ll forgive you this time. As a wink in your direction that it’s okay (only this time), we will give you a quick schpeel on who they are, where they come from and then of course, this new album will give you an instinctive idea of where they’re heading: (I stole this from their Facebook page’s bio, of course, so as not to miss a thing)

Crimson House - photo by Paige Fiddes
Crimson House
(photo by Paige Fiddes)

Crimson House is a multi genre cabaret gypsy rock band that mixes rock, ska and roots blues with a South African Twist.

A multi genre gypsy cabaret group that combine a number of styles including ska, Afro blues, hip hop and rock. Cape Town, South Africa’s Crimson House has become a festival & club favourite with their high energy interactive live performances becoming that of legends. They formed in 2010 and have since released 3 albums, with a collection of chart hitting tracks including their latest hit singles “Take a chance”, “Medicine”, “Jo’s Bounce” & “Pot of Gold” of their upcoming 4th Album. (and of course, now we have BOUNCEOLOGY! – STM)

Early career;

Crimson House initially begun as a bluegrass duo and by 2012 as a high octane blues quartet. The group toured as “Crimson House Blues” and had released two albums under the name, “Smoke Dust & Whisky” (2012) featuring the cult hit “Breaking down low”, and “Red Shack Rock” (2013) featuring “Aphrodite” & “Pindrop Circle”. They dropped the “blues” in their name and released “Come Alive” (2015) which featured 16 songs with the addition of Nick Becker & Gareth Harvey as the newly added horn section that would change their sound forever.

Present day…

After 2015 the group then featured as the backing band in a cabaret circus in which they adopted a new found love for gypsy music to the likes of Gorgol Bordello and Balkan Beat Box. This new found love lead the group to establish a new direction in their music and thus has begun the new journey of which they are creating for their 4th Studio album in which they are delving into their South African/ Namibian roots.

They have a number of collaborations and you can check it all out on their Facebook page.

Crimson House - photo by Small Town Music
Crimson House at STRAB
(photo by Small Town Music)

Right, so now that the uninformed have been informed:

I want to mention a few things that blew my mind on this album. And before I do, I want you to have an unbiased opinion about this album, so I won’t divulge too much and give you a sense of preordained brainwash and opinion.

“Carmen” is a genius track! “Jo Bounce” is possibly the best ending I’ve heard to a steller album (and we’re talking 12 tracks here, folks!). And everything in between creates the fibre of what makes this album – in my opinion – one of the best South African releases I’ve heard in ages.

Do yourself a favour:

Catch them live at The Mercury if you find yourself in Cape Town this weekend. They are performing Saturday night at Mercury in Cape Town (more info of the event on Facebook) or get hold of their new album via Spotify, Google Play Music or Deezer. Either way, you’ll have a bit of gypsy carnival in your life and you’ll thank these guys for it.

And now, prepare to BOUNCE!

Marley is the founder and owner of Small Town Music. Born and bred in Nelspruit aka Nelsparta. Marley loves music (rock being a firm favourite), tattoos, festivals, animals and South Africa. Self-taught photographer and writer.