Talk about a cultured band of brothers. John J, Jesse, Dylan and Daniel Kongos, of the band Kongos (ironic, huh?) grew up in London, South Africa and now live, write and record in Phoenix, Arizona. Not only that, but John J and Jesse played in several jazz and fusion groups while attending Arizona State University and now they’ve brought in their two younger brothers to form a solid pop self-titled debut album, with a secret weapon.
"The Trouble Is," hints at that same secret weapon, but keeps it in the background while delivering a climactic ending to a piece of radio-friendly pop perfection.
The next gritty rocker, "The Way," is where the accordion breaks out into an all out firestorm taking the group from "pretty good" to "this is friggin’ awesome!" The accordion adds a polka flavor (which naturally makes this Polish boy happy), but it fits surprisingly well and adds a depth to the music that I have never heard before. (Honestly, though, who would have thought that an accordion could add so much?)
The best track on the album is "Another Daydream" where lead singer Dylan Kongos laments about how "Ten thousand people disappear tonight/ Under the daydream with no end in sight." The component that makes this track stand out is the string arrangement by John J. The song ends with a staccato string portion that should cement it’s place in the next big superhero movie.
They do explore a little bit without completely abandoning their jazz roots. The bluesy "Remember Me" showcases the odd rhythms that they incorporated into their jazz & fusion groups, while "Nothing" keeps a pulsing percussive beat with the sing-along chorus of "Don’t let me down."
Kongos are bound to make it big. Their songs are radio-ready and they have a frickin’ kickin’ accordian! On their self-titled debut, these four brothers prove that they are ready to take the torch from their multi-million selling father, John Kongos, and make it burn even brighter.