beebob

Live review from Compilation CD 5 Launch Party A:

IMG_3296wtmk.jpgSetlist:

1. Intro

2. 延後5 Delay 5 Seconds

3. 裝空作勢 Pretend

4. 豁出去 Fight

5. 見怪不怪 Surprising

6. 是非黑白 Right and Wrong

The momentous moment in May once again had come about when the compilation CD is released, and Party A was set to be a fun one. At the Hard Rock Cafe again, the massive stage, slick interiors and (most importantly) the rich sound promised a good show that they did not fail to deliver (despite some expressed self-doubtage, which was more for technical audiophiles than the average listener). Overall, the venue lived up to its sonic promises in flourishing fashion.

Being the first band on is always a double-edged sword, especially on an occasion like this one, but the members of beebob did not appear to sweat it in the slightest. Their on-stage demeanour was cool (to the point of being almost detached) and collected, and their (not inconsiderable) cabal of fans seemed to like that just fine. Which is odd, because theirs is one of the most odd-sounding combinations of sound I’ve heard in a long time. They combine styles that have gone well together in the past, but vaguely “country/folk”, “pop” and “rock” have rarely sounded less blended in my experience. The trouble, to me, seems to be that their sound pulls in different directions rather than forming a coalesced whole. Instead of sounding like Tom Petty it ends up sounding like ZZ Top being forced to do a Traveling Wilburys cover. Hyperbole? Perhaps, but there’s a definite discomfort between the styles that doesn’t sit quite right with my ear.

BUT – having said that, this is a problem that only someone who listens as obsessively closely as I do. If you’re not completely sidetracked by the minutiae of the styles you might find them an easy-on-the-ears listen. In fact some of the very hard-rock solos played were interesting in themselves, as was the jangly indie-rock rhythm and pacing of most of the songs. At their best points they have a jangly drive that you can get lost in, much like Pavement. That’s essentially where the problem operates – the solos cut through the momentum, and that’s noticeable right from the very first song. 延後5 Delay 5 Seconds bridged the gap much better, with its stop-start bass-driven rhythm; this one was slightly reminiscent of early Supergrass. 豁出去 Fight, serendipitously, has the same chords as the chorus in Who Shot Holga?’s Clair, but was instead a mix of sugary hard rock solos and a somewhat sinister but more earthy melody. The minor chords continued into 是非黑白 Right and Wrong, a much richer melody than the others making them sound something like Cheap Trick – an excellent note to end on. I’m still not over the incongruity between the styles, but their last two songs showed they can actually do it right if there’s some substance behind the melody and I hope that’s the direction they choose to take in their future compositions.

– Shashwati Kala

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