Way back in 2007, when I wrote my “30 South African Bands you NEED to hear!” post, there was a handful of bands that inspired the post in the first place. Just Jinger, Max Normal, Perez, Springbok Nude Girls… and Plush. You can click on through to read more in that post, but to cut a long story short, here’s the important bit from the post that you need to know about Plush…
Plush were an acoustic rock band based out of Cape Town, comprising of Rory Eliot and Chas Smit. Together they were described as “so unbelievably tight that they sound as though they are one masterful musician, playing two guitars, with four arms and one almighty voice“. Plush were everything I had been waiting for. They wrote songs that spoke to you. Welcomed you in. Sat you down with a beer, and lent a sympathetic ear for all your hurts. They played the soundtrack to your life. Plush, in my opinion, had the potential to be the best thing out of South Africa. Ever.
Plush’s rocket ride to stardom ended tragically when Smit was killed by a drunk driver when attempting to cross a street in Pietermaritzburg in September 2005.
For a taste of what Plush had to offer, the tune below, Erla, was off their debut LP, “All That Is Should Be”, from 2004. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more confident, full debut.
I don’t think any other death in my “musical life” played a larger part than Chas’s. I knew the guys, tangentially, from playing a few of the same festivals as them. We shared one or two of the local bars as regular gig venues, and – looking back on it now – were probably more contemporaries than I ever really knew. But to me, Plush were just something bigger. They were the guys who were going to show the rest of the world everything that South Africa could do. So when Chas died, a little bit of that hope died with me.
Rory, the other half of Plush continued playing as “Rory Eliot & The Reason”. And his stuff was good, but never quite hit me like the old Plush stuff did. But over the last few years, Rory’s started up “Plush” again, with new band members Carl Wegelin and Emelio Gassibe.
Anyway, all of this is a lengthy preamble to say that Plush are just about to launch their new, self-titled debut. And I’ve just heard their lead single, Dancing in a Storm.
And I got that good old “Plush” feeling again… and I’m sitting here, transported immediately back to simpler times.
And man, it’s good to have you back Rory.