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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

The members of the South African rock band BLK JKS - that's spelled B-L-K J-K-S - grew up in different parts of the country. They spoke different tribal languages and they listened to a wide range of music from local tunes to Duke Ellington to Sonic Youth.

Our reviewer Tom Moon says their diversity creates an original sound on the band's new album.

(Soundbite of music)

TOM MOON: Rock has had plenty of run-ins with African rhythm over the years. None of them can quite prepare you for the music of BLK JKS.

(Soundbite of music)

MOON: The four-piece band based in Johannesburg specializes in a shadowy, foreboding style of progressive rock that's distinctly African. Beneath fantastic tangles of electric guitar are superheated beats - rhythms that have roots in the township jive dance music that erupted in South Africa in the 1970s.

(Soundbite of music)

MOON: BLK JKS isn't some chipper world music operation masquerading as a rock band. These guys think like rockers. The music's unruliness suggests that - and so do the songs about isolation in the digital age. But check out how lively the pulse is. This band saunters right past the rhythmic ruts of most current rock. Their music is full of wild and totally unscripted lunges.

(Soundbite of music)

MOON: Not everything on BLK JKS' debut is super intense. The album's extended final track is almost a lullaby, retelling a South African fable about the ghosts and monsters who visit misbehaving children.

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MOON: Okay, sure, there's a degree of novelty at work here. The band's from South Africa, which is not exactly known as a rock mecca. And its sound can be summed up in the glib language of the mash-up. You know, here's what happens when loud guitars clash with deep African groove. But listen closely and you discover that BLK JKS have churned these influences into an organic and fiercely original sound.

(Soundbite of music)

BLK JKS: (Singing) Down by the lakeside, the paramedic threw up his hands.

BLOCK: The new CD from the group BLK JKS is called "After Robots." Our reviewer is Tom Moon.

(Soundbite of music)

BLK JKS: (Singing) …legion. But where did it all go wrong?

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