Monday, January 02, 2006
VARIOUS ARTISTS- New School Rock MCD
(BigO Project 1991)
And then it was about time when Singapore music had to emerge from the underground. BigO was already heralding the wave by the power of media and 1991 was the time that they saw dividends in investing a fair sum to etch and chronicle the most important periods of Singaporean music onto a timeless platter known as Compact Discs. When the CD was first introduced, in a specially marked up issue of BigO, there was quite a fervent response from locality. The Oddfellows were already gaining notoriety with their infamous asshole song, which had a rather generous serving on the radio waves in the early 90s; Opposition Party were serving thrashing slews to the heightened ecstasy of rabid fans in many concerts and this Corporate Toil would become that thing known as Mee Pok Man and Padres. There was much feel of excitement and revolution, and this dynamo certainly paved way for that burst of local artists onto anticipating crowds in the mid 90s, the renaissance of the Singaporean pop/rock music. Never mind that it was a certain well choreographed business plan, it still have its effect in making a worthwhile mark and many a diehard Singapore rockers. Each of the aforementioned bands contributed two tracks to this compilation, which made up a total of 6 home baked numbers. Also notesworthy here is that the coverart was drawn by the impact artist Jumali.
Well, what better way to say Mari Kita than Patrick Chng spewing his homegrown whines. Here, the Oddfellows kickstarted with pop punk opener Lost My Head and that crowd favourite Song About Caroline, which was incidentally that asshole song I mentioned earlier. The Oddfellows were perhaps the most influential band to ever walk within the local shores, to the same effects of mentioning The Pilgrims of Malaysia, or Sex Pistols of UK. They were the first indie band to gain any commercial successes here, notwithstanding the fact that bands like The Quests and Zircon Lounge were as indie as they get. One can simply attribute to their simplicity in delivery, their catchy numbers, and the fact that their innocent naivety (or as it seems) in the music garnishes an instant appeal to the band. If its about Caroline being the asshole that she is, then The Oddfellows make no qualms with the exclamations. Their music is laced with memorable hooks and sing-along quality not heard since The Replacements and Husker Du, that makes great gigging material.
Opposition Party offered their sinister brand of thrashcore in two painful servings, namely Impending Doom and Crawl Out Alive. To sum it up, the band almost seemed out of place in this compilation, due to the fact that not even many fans of local indies can easily acquire admiration of metallic hardcore punk. To simply call Opposition Party a hardcore punk band is still largely an understatement. Their music is a metallic powerhouse charged with the spirits of Deviated Instinct.
Corporate Toil is the oddball of the bunch because they do not offer any rocking experiences, much to Joe Ngs regrets. This was his brainchild before striking Suede poses in The Padres, or flashing butt as Mee Pok Man. This band played rather cheap casio-sounding synth pop, with industrial beats and mandatory loopings, much alike a watered down version of Skinny Puppy meets a dysfunctional Coil. They came up with two tracks Hope And Requiem and King Eric. As much as Joe struggled with bad talents and off key singings, King Eric is actually quite interesting. It is driven by the kind of bass groove that compels you to put on a badass shades and swagger down Bugis street, chewing your badass gums. This song incidentally referred to either Eric Khoo or Eric Moo.
As always, true Singapore music, no matter how good or bad it is, gets right into the heart of the matter. For that matter, this was the New School Rock like the way it should be, because it had rewritten the textbook of Singapores rock music ever since.
--sojourner at 6:02 PM