Red Earth & Rust
Skeletons of Memory – Songs for the West Coast Independent
4 stars

Brooding, uneasy history lesson
Red Earth & Rust’s third album has struck a vein rich and deep with vocalist Jacques Coetzee and a cast of crack musicians setting to their task like readers in a burning library. The songs describe different landscapes and historical events along the west coast of South Africa and Namibia much like Ry Cooder has documented California on recent ‘concept’ albums. “Ruby from Hondeklipbaai” tells of a woman stuck in a harsh place, “Donkergat” is an eerie revisit of Langebaan’s whaling days and “Can a Man’s Skull Roll” the story of 12 headless skeletons dug up by stranded sailors on the Skeleton Coast. Though maybe five songs too long (there are 18), this excellent album is one for the long haul.

Key tracks: “Skeleton Coast”, “Absence”, “Genocide”