Debut album by South African
band Saron Gas
, who would later, minus drummer Dave Cohoe
, become Seether
Saron Gas is:
Shaun Welgemoed - Guitar, Vocals
Dave Cohoe - Drums, Backing Vocals
Dale Stewart - Bass, Backing Vocals
- Fine Again
- Tied my Hands
- Take Me Away
- Driven Under
- Stay and Play
- You Bore
- Dazed and Abused
Later versions of the album came with a Bonus CD containing:
- Tied My Hands(acoustic)
- Senseless Tragedy
The opening track, Beer comes as somewhat of a shock if you had only heard the much-more-radio-friendly 69tea. The discordant guitar parts, and words like "I wish you were not here/With my come in your mouth/I wish you weren't so queer/Your chains lock me up" put your mind in a very different place than if they'd opened with a more mainstream song, like Fine Again. Also, this is the best moshing song, ever. Since the first time I saw them live, this my my favorite SG song.
Shaun uses quite a few stomp-boxes on his vocals, like in Driven Under, when he sings "You'll Bleed!/For ME!", and I remember, seeing them live, he used to recreate the sound on the album pretty faithfully.
Driven Under is one of my favorite SG songs. That verse guitar part is amazing in it's simplicity.
The lyrics are the thing that makes me keep playing this album. The way Shaun sings "have you ever wanted to die/ when you were without your friends/ haven't you said goodbye/ to the one on who your life depends" so calmy, and then switches to screaming "PIG!" to whispering "have your ever wished for fire/take it like you take it away" really impresses me. And I like the hint of a South African accent in his voice.
I remember my friend playing me an mp3 he'd ripped from the radio of 69tea. Soon Barney Simon was playing Pride without the vocals in the background every day when he did the gig guide. Top 40 shows started playing it more and more, and eventually i heard it every day on the radio. People didn't even realise it was a song by a South African band, and that was a beautiful thing.
For me, Fragile was a huge milestone for South African music. Magazine writers and DJ's would have you believe that Springbok Nude Girls and Squeal were pioneers, but that's just not true. Before Saron Gas, Local Music was a thing of myth to me. No-one went to see bands. No-one bought local CD's. Radio stations played maybe one local song a year, on SA Music Day. These days, even my Mom knows who Saron Gas is. Saron Gas brought local music into the public eye, and this CD will always have a place in my heart.
The front of the album shows a picture of an open hand with a wasp standing on it. As you page through the lyrics booklet, the right hand side of every page has pictures of the hand closing around the wasp, and on the back, the hand is open again, and the wasp is dead. In the middle of the booklet there is a picture of the band standing in front of a merry-go-round at Carnival City.
Incidentally, the hand belongs to Dave's daughter.
Fragile was produced by Brian O'Shea and Chris Tuck and released on Musketeer Records in 1999.