The Sick-Leaves
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The Sick-Leaves

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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Tunnel Vision"

"This is one serious guitar-driven three-piece that hides the catchy melodies and well-crafted hooks on Tunnel Vision behind a wall of sound."

Lloyd Gedye - Mail & Guardian
- Mail & Guardian

"Rock Anthemic Bliss"

"A true evolution of pure rock anthemic bliss..."

"At first listen, the album takes a while to sink in, subconsciously gripping you... A very powerful 3-some, these lot! Soon you'll be humming those anthems - elevated by superb solo guitar riffs. Eks' voice stands out from the rest. A very well-produced album. Enjoy!"

Gideon Hewitt - CD BABY
- CD Baby

"The Sick-Leaves"

"This South African band is more than just a clever name, they're the freshest thing local rock has seen in a long time. The band has also succeeded in producing a unique spin on a genre that refuses to die out."

Nikki Temkin - Sunday Times

- The Sunday Times

"The Sick-Leaves"

"... enough of an individual musical approach to create a sound that's fresh to even the most jaded musical ears"

Diane Coetzer - Entertainment Africa / Billboard Magazine - Diane Coetzer




Feeling a bit camera shy


Into a scene littered with acts that are all-too-often carbon copies of those dominating the global music charts comes The Sick-Leaves, a band who’s debut album signals a sea-change in South Africa’s rock landscape.

The Sick-Leaves was the brainchild of singer, songwriter and lead guitarist Eksteen Jacobsz (who ditched a career in investment banking to start the band). After spending two years in London, performing extensively with his band, The Infidels (performances included sharing the stage with The Libertines – one of the most influential Brit rock bands of the last decade), he returned to South Africa in 2003 to study contemporary music. “It was an experience and playing in the UK for those years taught me a great deal about what it means to be in a band and work your way towards having enough momentum to sustain yourself as a musician. But I wanted to come back here and create my own music and start a band that would reflect my material in the best way possible.”

It’s taken Jacobsz a while but he has found his core in drummer Wesley Robus and bassist, Quinn Hawley – both music teachers at St Stithians College. Robus (who has played with Zolan Sky, Short & Root and Colourblind and has no stamp collection) was born in Durban but moved to Johannesburg in the late 1980’s to receive better medical treatment for haemophilia. A fused knee-joint and lots of sick-leaves from school was the result of many a tests with modern medicine. Hawley, who celebrates his birthday on the same day as Ozzy, studied contemporary music for 2 years under the legendary Graham Curry and has played with Think, 12 Tone and Corner To View.

They provide a strong rhythmical bedrock for Jacobsz’ guitar work and established themselves quickly as “the missing link” in The Sick-Leaves’ bid for rock longevity.

As a 3-piece, The Sick-Leaves is a musical force to be reckoned with. “I do believe that the combination of guitar, bass and drums is the most enduring one in music,” says Jacobsz.

The Sick-Leaves was signed by Sheer Music in April 2006 and released their debut album in May 2006. Titled Tunnel Vision, the 13-track offering from this newcomer to the music scene conjures up a sonic brew that takes its inspiration from the best indie Brit rock on the block but filters that through enough of an individual musical approach to create a sound that’s fresh to even the most jaded musical ears.

Listen to Tunnel Vision and it’s a cinch to hear what sets apart The Sick-Leaves from the many other rock bands currently plying their trade: threaded throughout the set of songs on the album is some of the most skilled and intuitive guitar playing heard in South Africa for the longest time.

For singer and master-guitarist (truly) Eksteen Jacobsz, reclaiming the guitar as rock’s centrepiece makes sense at a time when too much studio slick wizardry threatens to eclipse this essential ingredient from the genre’s magical mixture. “There’s nothing like a song that uses the guitar to create a memorable melody and that’s what we’ve done on all the songs here,” 27-year-old Jacobsz says of the band’s debut release.

He’s not wrong.

While a truly inspired layering of guitars creates a compelling sound on the album, what’s most striking about Tunnel Vision is that the songs are so impeccably served by Jacobsz astonishingly skilled guitar-playing. The album’s title track, for starters, is capable of notching up loads of radio-play with its combination of a melody that sticks in your head like bubblegum, and lyrics that ensnare with ease. Other songs are just as strong-“Such a Waster” boasts an insistent hook and provides an ample showcase for Jacobsz’ voice (which recalls Placebo’s Brian Molko in its high-pitched intensity) and “Par Avion” reveals Jacobsz’ ability to write songs about universal subjects, like aloneness and relationships gone skew.

What also ensures Tunnel Vision elevate itself above the rest of the rock releases on the scene is the production.

The vastly underrated Matthew Fink has done a masterful job on the album, creating a wash of sound that nonetheless allows each guitar-part, each instrument to stand distinct. The result is a highly textured production that nonetheless never lets the heart of each song out of its sights. Listen to the cleverness in a song like “Overkill”, where scatterlings of sound are drawn together into a great whole to get a handle on just how intuitive Fink is when let loose in the studio. Says Jacobsz, “We could not have achieved the sound without Matthew. He really was the perfect producer for the album because he understood just how to create the sound that we were looking for on Tunnel Vision.” A musician himself (as part of The Awakening and Jim Neversink) Fink’s ability to use the studio in different ways helped create Tunnel Vision’s textured feel, the producer assisting Jacobsz in selecting just which guitar to deploy on the different songs, placing mics in odd places in the s