Walk In Africa 1979-81
Listening to this reissue is a lot like hearing studio tracks, demos, and live recordings of a beloved underground band from back in the day. In this case, you’d be right if the band were a biracial one clandestinely performing in apartheid-era Johannesburg, South Africa. The studio material comes from an album that sold 700 copies before the government insisted it be withdrawn, effectively putting an end to the band. Politics aside, National Wake's postpunk music—which also contains elements of reggae, dub, blues, and African music—has a feel of The Police, The Jam, and The Clash. (Lyrically, these folks weren’t pulling any punches.) The band is most concise and punky on tracks like “International News,” “Mercenaries," and “Walk in Africa,” but some of the more unique things happen in the conscious reggae of “Corner House Stone” and the soul grooves of “Wake Up the Nation.” Some reissues seem like vanity projects, but Walk in Africa 1979-81 truly spreads the word about an important band that was far ahead of its time.