Cherry Vinyl’s debut album, Busking Cape Town, is a fun and energetic, melodic folk-rock offering. In a nutshell, this sounds like an album made by lovers of music. Everything sounds bright and light, with a positive attitude and hopeful lyrics beaming from the speakers. It’s also evident that these musicians know what they’re doing – when it comes to skilled use of their individual instruments, but also the production and arrangement involved in crafting each song, these songs are top class.
The opening track, Central Park, has an almost out-of-place, American title, because the rest of the album (most notably the title track Busking Cape Town) has a firm, determined South African identity. These guys aren’t ashamed of their heritage, although the songs succeed in inserting their lyrical and thematic ideas into any setting the listener could choose.
When mentioning genres like folk-rock, it’s easy to get lumped in with a group where you don’t really belong. Cherry Vinyl, for example, basically has nothing in common with acts like Bob Dylan, Damien Rice, or even The Oh So Serious. Instead, their music leans more towards Indie Pop, without ever getting annoyingly radio-friendly. Electric guitars are included prominently in the mix, without ever taking over, but just complementing the other instruments perfectly.
Busking Cape Town is energetic and alive and doesn’t ever lose gusto or spunk. Cherry Vinyl’s debut album is almost tiring to listen to all at once, because all the determination, enthusiasm, and positive attitude contained in this record has to go somewhere, and a simple bit of foot-tapping just isn’t enough.