Monday, June 25, 2007
DO NOT ASK- Just Play It! CD
(Pony Canyon Singapore Pte Ltd 1992)
Singapore's music scene had been seriously screwed and skewered by its industry for a long time since the '70s, and if anybody can remember there was actually one record company that sought reconcilliation between the drifting factions in the '90s, a Japanese company by the name of Pony Canyon. They (and Paul Zach) taught us locals that we had some heroes amongst us who can actually rock, sometimes better than a foreign artist with extensive radioplay and suddenly we saw local faces on CD covers. Of course there were certainly some cautious calculations on their part, and albeit low profit margin, they put out some damn fine acts with professional treatment (meaning expensive studio budget, and their trademark thick CD booklets).
Do Not Ask (DNA) was on their catalogue CS00020 and they certainly did Pony Canyon and us locals proud with a one of a kind treasure of an album “Just Play It!” released in 1992. DNA, led by the local rock goddess personality Dulcie Soh started writing furiously for their debut album since 1991 when their song “One More Night Alone” was featured in an SBC (Singapore Broadcasting Corporation) documentary. At that point DNA fitted just right in the bill with their complete package of hard rocking attitude leather jackets outfit and what not, and they even had their personal stylists. Before grunge took off in the later parts of early '90s by storm, DNA was perhaps the last bastion of genuine “true old school big hair” hard rockers who actually can play their guitars.
Rock N' Roll was growing lamer by the day and most of '90s radio rock staples were actually commercial love songs played with electric guitars. DNA however drew inspiration from the prime movers, with marked influences from the femme fatale of rock n'roll Vixen, Lita Ford, the god of wankers Joe Satriani and the mandatory Led Zeppelin and Uriah Heep. Not as wild as Edgar's Fault and not as creepy as Elaine Kang this band treaded Adult Oriented Rock territory with heavy edge, apparent in tracks like “Rockin' Radio” and “(Another) Sad Story”, “Steal My Heart”which has the right amount of attitude to do a Heart. They also did not shy away from the soft side, with sparse amount of keyboard synth sound to go they created some really atmospheric numbers that epitomised the free spirit that is the rock siren of Dulcie Soh, like “Edge of A Dream”, “Flame”. “One More Night Alone” is pure synth based ballad with Dulcie's haunting melancholia seeping through a crestfallen vocals. Towards the end of the CD they did a cover of The Rascal's “Good Lovin'”, bluesy but also surprisingly modern.
After the debut was released Dulcie shed her rock image for polished sophistication and along with most of her bandmates, except Jeff Long, the core member of DNA. One year later she got Herey Teper on bass and together they formed Radioactive, a band that was immensely popular back in the early '90s with really out of this world hits on radio (pun intended). All the rest is history. This CD “Just Play It” may be an especially tough find these days, much rarer than the most covetted Humpback Oaks and Lilac Saints, but it is an essentially mandatory listen for anybody remotely interested in the transition of rock n'roll's former glory in the history of Singaporean music. For we don't quite rock like this anymore.
--sojourner at 3:54 AM