Parking Lot Grass (PLG) made an entrance to the Kenyan rock scene much like the first track off “Shimo Mfukoni”. That acoustic version of “Sweet Pain” is a melodious whisper with guitar MUSIC melodies that shine out in full force, leaving you questioning if you’ve known PLG all your life. Vocalist Ruff’s Coheed & Cambria-esque vocals introduce the listener to the variety of rock music you may have grown accustomed to coming in from abroad but now proudly beaming out from local shores.
Having released the EP in May, it’s no wonder the band has witnessed an ever-growing local fanbase, ranging from the ongoing requests on radio to the growing “#TeamPLG” brand. And it’s easy to see why. The recording quality, courtesy of locally based Andromeda Studios, gratefully allows all components of the music to come through, starting with TPF 3-finalist Ruff’s soaring vocals. Guitarists Victor and Ali, bassist Amos Kiptoon and Drummer Nick are thus introduced to us as Kenya’s new rock patrons.
The EP’s hard-hitting charge really gets underway on “Etched On My Heart”, taking no break with the socially conscious, “Speed Chaser”. The beautiful acoustic instrumental that is “Home” brings to mind Killswitch Engage’s midalbum interludes. The stripped-down bonus track, “Coward” sends out a strong message that PLG are not afraid to explore and fuse different genres, highlighted by the painfully honest lyrics. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t identify with “Shimo Mfukoni’s” portrait of youthful struggle.
Most importantly, this EP comes as the welcome breath that Kenyan rockers so badly wanted, marching boldly into fresh annals that should see them joined by the very bands that they will inspire. Having just recently watched PLG headline a rock show (on a Sunday night, nonetheless), it goes without saying that this is first-and-foremost a performing band more than capable of echoing (and exceeding) what you hear on the record. With rumors of a full album on the horizon, PLG’s hard-hitting brand of rock is here to stay. Thank goodness!
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By Mahia Mutua