Mainstream radio tends to feed us music that isn’t necessarily good and pretty much sounds the same, however, every now and then there are bands that surprise us by managing to make music that is radio friendly, super catchy and worth listening to. Johannesburg seems to be South Africa’s source of these bands and it makes one wonder what it is that Johannesburg has that Cape Town doesn’t. Cape Town has limited venues for bands to perform and a relatively difficult audience to convince. While Johannesburg has more venues and a bigger crowd of music goers, bands gig for years without ever blowing up. You’ve got to pay your dues if you want to make it in this scene and Dance You’re On Fire is one such band. They have been gigging and paying their dues since 2007. It was only after their change in sound, now more mainstream as opposed to their earlier experimental material, and the release of their single ‘Blockade’, followed by their full length debut album Secret Chiefs that South Africa was forced to take notice.

Their feel good sugary pop rock sound with an indie bite is the kind of music you would blast at full volume in your car on your way to campus to get you amped up for the long day ahead. I remember the first time hearing Boxes of Tigers. I was completely convinced it was Panic At The Disco making an awesome come back after the failure of Pretty Odd, so I turned it up to full volume. The quality of both this band’s music as well as the actual production and mastering of the album exceeds expectations. It is an extremely well-produced album, good enough to be released internationally.  Realising that they were in fact a local band only impressed me more.

While DYOF’s sound is commercial they have found a perfect balance between popular culture and indie that makes for catchy tunes but never losing its credibility as a ‘radicore’ band. ‘Secret Chiefs’ ranges from bubbly tracks like Boxes of Tigers and Little Wars which prove perfect for dancing around like a kid who’s had too much candy (when nobody’s looking of course), to more chilled songs like Michelle.  My personal favourites on the album would be Blockade and Michelle.  Blockade’s attitude filled leads make it stand out from the rest of the album while the mellowness of Michelle compliments the indie pop nature of the rest of the album.

The band is in the process of working on a follow up to Secret Chiefs hopefully to be released in 2012. They may sound a lot like Panic At The Disco but I don’t think we need to worry too much about them pulling a ‘Pretty Odd’ stunt. I can’t see them isolating themselves in a cabin in the mountains in the middle of nowhere, writing music while under the influence of opium related drugs. This is an album definitely worth adding to your collection.

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