When you are granted the privilege of gallivanting across the globe in your Dark Side of the Moon underpants -- flown to and fro at the record company's expense -- it must be a big fat shot of freak adrenaline that leaves an artist ecstatic over ambitious. This actually happened to the unsettlingly eccentric South African rave-rap crew called Die Antwoord, and that's with Diplo, Jimmy Kimmel, and Interscope all in the mix, although that last name has been jettisoned for this sophomore effort due to an argument over the leadoff single (the band wanted "Fok Julle Naaiers," where the DJ threatens to make love to the listener in the most unholy of places). With Interscope out of the picture, the aptly named, aptly misspelled TenSion arrives via the group's own Zef Records, which in America means they move distribution from one wing of Universal to another, so don't think this polished monster emerged from some South African record-printing rebel hut. The good news is, the album sounds triumphantly bigger than that, and the duo remains the average Joe and Jane's link to an impossible underworld, a futuristic South African hyped-up trailer park you can visit while avoiding the flies and the stink. Delinquency and depravity, however, are unavoidable as members Ninja and Yo-Landi remain obsessed with ninjas and ejaculate, so leave the kids and any sensibility at home. That slight sliver of self that craves aggressive sex threats at 2 Unlimited tempos will be satiated as "I Fink U Freeky" bleeps and builds into a Cronenberg meets Kesha anthem for the dancefloor, while "Fatty Boom Boom" offers more spliff and dancehall sex talk over furious tom-toms, tribal chants, and double-dutch handclaps. The sinewy, psychedelic vision of classic rock heard on the great "Hey Sexy" adds some Funkadelic flavor to an effort that's otherwise Altern 8 and Too Short, but a calling-card track like their debut's "Enter the Ninja" is absent, making this album more an exciting celebration for established fans than an easy entry point. Above that, the anti-erotic, extra-creepy interlude "Uncle Jimmy" is the most skippable track of 2012, but otherwise this sick supernova called Die Antwoord continues to burn bright.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries