'n Pleister vir my Nerwe - Riku Lätti
'n Pleister vir my Nerwe - Riku Lätti

mature, intelligent music that's easy to listen to
Writer's Club iAfrica.com   7/6/2001 
Toast Coetser

Riku Lätti 

(**** 4 stars) 
'n Pleister Vir My Nerwe 

The Afrikaans music scene is in a phase where new stars are emerging alongside the old stalwarts like Koos, Kerkorrel, Valiant and Anton Goosen. There's Karen Zoid, Beeskraal, Akkedis, Spinnekop and now Riku Lätti. Hardly new on the scene, Riku has been sharpening his pop sensibility over the years in his English band, Me and Mr Sane. But like the guys from Diff-Olie and Kobus!, he has decided to concentrate on Afrikaans songs, in the process suddenly enriching the genre significantly. 

This album came out last year and is accompanied by an EP called 'Woknakwyf' - an experimental electronic effort. But the main disc is the real treasure here. Riku steers clear of most of his peers' bluesrock/folk direction, focusing his attention on making a straight-out pop album. It's a difficult route to follow, Kerkorrel has tried it before him, for 'alternative' Afrikaans music has seemed weary of the pop idiom in the past. 

Riku stands out thanks to his distinctive voice, great lyrics and uncanny knack for getting the pop-formula bit right. In fact, he gets it so right that you'll constantly catch yourself asking 'where've I heard that before?' Not to say that he's copying anyone, it's just that there's such a myriad of pop influences here, that it becomes irrelevant. Sometimes you'll hear early Blur (on 'Rooirok'), then the melancholy of Koos du Plessis ('Pakpoort'), then the delicacy of Dire Straits ('Jas'). 

But Riku's sound is his own, nothing is stolen from anyone, it's simply new, fresh, original music created from within the knowledge of other music. He got a SAMA nomination for this album, and it's easy to see why: it's mature, intelligent music that's easy to listen to, while still maintaining a nice jab. 

Look out for Riku's next project, where he and Jean Marais (ex-Duusman) have teamed up to form a band called 12Hz.