Nakhane – You Will Not Die

Nakhane's You Will Not Die is filled with emotional honesty deftly balancing beauty and pain

Album Review by Eugenie Johnson | 12 Mar 2018
  • Nakhane – You Will Not Die
Album title: You Will Not Die
Artist: Nakhane
Label: BMG
Release date: 16 Mar

Nakhane grew up in a deeply religious community in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. In his early 20s, he came out and made the decision to leave the Christian faith. After taking such a huge leap towards accepting his true self though, he felt something of a void that had once been filled by prayer. It’s here that his love of music stepped in.

On his debut album You Will Not Die, Nakhane’s past and present collide in a diverse, expressive and cathartic collection. Underpinned by energetic synthesizers, electronic beats and some more glitch-ridden elements, while pianos, guitars and sweeps of strings give an organic edge to the mix. On the buoyant, pulsating Interloper, the hook’s harmonies are evocative of gospel, and By the Gullet combines glassy tones with bold bass licks.

It’s Nakhane himself who steals the show with his soulful voice though. Unsurprisingly given his history, religious references pepper his lyrics, such as on hymn-like closer Teen Prayer where he declares 'Oh boy, white Jesus loves you now / More than he’ll ever love me.' Combined with the power of his voice, he packs one heck of a punch. Yet, You Will Not Die manages to deftly balance its beauty and pain without ever feeling overly melodramatic. It’s an album that’s at times danceable and at others meditative, but always filled with emotional honesty.

Listen to: Clairvoyant, Interloper