Monday, December 31, 2007
FORCE VOMIT- The Furniture Goes Up CD
(Leaf Records 1998)
Happy new year to you and welcome to the fourth year into Rock In The Fine City! Wow, time has indeed passed so quickly before I was even certain I am older and my pastimes are more limited. On new year's day today I could have been at the beaches but here I am rather slouched on my cursed chair of idle and listening to some really fine music that made me think of the beaches. The surfing sound of Force Vomit, might I say the ONLY surviving band in Singapore nowadays with such tunes that smell of sea brine. Those irresistibly wicked twang thangs are long overdue sounds that should be heard on the beautiful island of Singapore. That reverb-drenched magical sound of surf resonates most naturally here because sea waves, coconuts and tropical tans are our birthrights, although we do not really have a bastion of real surf riders here. However, we used to have bands in Singapore swimming in the muddy waters of psychedelia folk and freakbeating to surfs and releasing vinyls that became serious collectors' items. But the growing resign to mundane chords of conventional rock music erased the trippy fun and made up the standard riffs of many a standard alternative rockers in Singapore. Until a disgustingly named ripsnorting entity of a legend by the name of Force Vomit put the fun back into the Singapore rock sound and became a force to be reckoned with vomit, not in a disgusting way.
Force Vomit was formed in late 1993 and this motley crue of treble spankers had released a couple of critically acclaimed albums and demos. Here I am reviewing their groundbreaking debut album “The Furniture Goes Up” released in 1998, featuring the classic lineup of Dino (guitars, vocals), Alvin (bass, vocals) and Neng (drums, vocals). Having already garnered fame (and notoriety) with their classic anthem “Spacemen Over Malaysia”, this CD was met with some of the wildest responses from both sides of the Causeway, and the band could equally revel and suffer the consequences for sounding so far ahead from the norm because speaking on behalf of the Singapore side of the Causeway we had some really narrowminded fools and wise guys with mind of an endless ocean. Nevertheless they surfed right above the radar with their brand of asian surf-punk that defies the gentle ripples of The Ventures or even The Pixies for that matter. They had much more quirks in their formulas to conjure up a really wicked concoction of abrasive punk rock and asian surf sensibility. Not to forget their intelligent social commentaries which packs a hidden punch/agenda.
The whole CD almost crackles and pops vinyl nostalgia, so damned cool and retro with astonishingly catchy melody that lies so abundantly easy on the ears, played to rich reverbed guitars on spring reverberation units, fat basslines, a cynical vocals and freak surfs drums. “Riot For Madame Chia” sets in with modal tonalities like a drug-induced dream out of Dick Dale. Many tracks here are pure surf bliss of The Ventures and The Chanteys order like “Surf Ratz”, “Hey Turbo” (with psych Malay-folk ethnic sound), “Tadika Cupid”. Many of their rocking moments are also set in appetizing punk numbers like “The Return of Mona Koh”, “L.O.V.I.N.G.”, “Welcome To Panic Stations”, “Mona Koh” firmly entrenched in the Ska, surf punk aspects of The Dead Kennedys and the more abrasive wildness of The Pixies. “Revolution NTPS” is a more eclectic mixture with a boogie set to the melodies of Seals & Crofts' “Summer Breeze”, heavy metal ala Iron Maiden and a very caustic The Pixies. “Spacemen Over Malaysia” is of course the greatest highlight in this CD with its ultra-cool asian surf melody that makes for a great crowd pleaser sing-along and its subtle social commentaries, but it is not listed in the album, only to be found hidden behind the last listed track “Mr Trampoline Man”.
Seriously I hardly have any time in the world. Those precious idle moments are divided between visiting the beaches and writing review on Rock In The Fine City. Or I could also go down to Sungei Road for some useful trinkets. But at this point I felt rather satisfied, because I've been sitting on writing a Force Vomit review since the start of Rock In The Fine City and procrastinated for four donkey years. Boo, shame on me for the last four years because Force Vomit is one of the greatest band from Singapore. Ok, I seriously mean it this time.
--sojourner at 10:18 PM