Monday, January 02, 2006
CONCAVE SCREAM- Concave Scream CD
(Coast-2-Coast Music 1994)
The debut from Concave Scream is built on an audacity not founded in an average HDB dweller. Concave- (adj) curved like a segment of the interior of a hollow sphere; scream and it will rattle louder within its dimensional constrains. The band had surprisingly gotten this far, after airing Democracy in a place where people are ruined by libel suits. But scream while you can because you are young and angst-ridden, which was very much what Sean and Pann were, audial terrorists of the lion city. Take a sneak peek at Pann if you can, and you may see a burly guitar executioner from the death metal band Silent Sorrows. Nevertheless my fellow mate Christopher Sia, who was also into all music subversive, passed this CD to me to get me off my death metal hooks and Ive been a convert ever since. Well, to his credit, he was the guy who took the pictures of the dejected duo in the album.
Concave Scream is considered a legend in the scene. One living testimony for the bands success is attested by their longevity in the music business. When all else fails, a band with enough intelligence to reject the norms of grunge and British goofiness of that time gladly took a trip to the leftfield and came back with some interesting colours. In the case for Concave Scream, they launched their painful ode to existence with the right kind of colours that do not include red and white. Yes, and heaps of greyness. Here, the band revisited the hauntingly surrealistic post-apocalyptic lingering of Joshua Tree era U2, coupled with the militant beats and hypnotic guitar melodies of say New Model Army. Sean also sounds like hes got a couple of Pearl Jam CDs in his collection, which starts a very spooky reminiscence in the hobo jangle of Cradle. Whereas Pann had his ghost of Slayer creeping up towards the end of The Last Song, which he failed to exorcise (hey, hes still sporting long hair these days). The drum machine done up here by Shue Mann didnt conjure up much power to do intense double pedal bass beats for a full metal treatment.
When it comes to playing out the melancholia of a creepy U2 and New Model Army, the band seemed almost like a complete genius/revisionist. The album moved at a heavy, pounding tempo with highly dynamic energetic rhythm, yet never vulgar or offensive, as the extremely well crafted lines run in perfect synchrony, with a very dark undertone. And the best aspect about them is, they wrote the songs themselves. Sean delivers confessional lyricism, which comes quite nicely accentuated by his cracking vocals which doesnt seem to go flat, but achingly belting out much pain and angst, sounding futile and hopeful at the same time, like a desperado at the Speakers Corner. Insanity kicks start the inevitable downward spiral, and upon hearing the sheer intensity of the song, youll swear that the barbed and concertina wirings in the album photoshot could have easily been taken from the world class institution in Buangkok View, Hougang. In Democracy, the vocalist muses Try to force us to our knees, we will never surrender. The spirit of non-violence was so cleverly spoken in a time when all seems peaceful and calm. Do you know what I mean? If you do and bear the same sentiments, let me know. At Erase, the band folded into introspective space and reflected upon a state of lost reality, with a very engaging torchsong which sounds quite apt in anybodys breakup. Take it that when people are young (like once they were), affairs of the heart did matter. The last notable mention goes to Futile, overflowing with ingenuity which easily ranks first place in anybodys heartspot. I have to mention this, because you dont get to hear such good music often, at least from a Singapore band. The first thing that strikes me is how sad the violin piece sounded. Here, Concave Scream employed S.C. Lim with her weepy violin playing alongside folksy acoustic guitar strumming, which kind of evokes the immortal spirit of Humpback Oaks Lucifer, but still. Here, the vocalist croons At the crossroads I stand, with no choices at hand/ Im close to despair, tell me when will this end. Sometimes when this is played to the right effect, you just cant help but break down and start breathing funny, especially in our dire straits.
Funny how I can still remember a middle-aged taxi driver uncle commenting about his future home when we passed by that world class institution in Buangkok View, pointing his finger at the complex and jokingly implied that there should be it. After which he gave me some scary statistics of new residents ending up there. His words were murmured, like screams curved into concave spaces, he Edvard Munch knows best. What you can do here is to let Concave Scream hit your stereo and vociferate to your lungs capacity while you can, because you are young and angst-ridden, just like yesterday.
--sojourner at 6:07 PM