Hydroscope

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Live Review from Underground 112:

最後funk rock樂隊hydroscope帶來當晚最後的演出,jamming式的前奏反映了樂隊成員彈奏樂器有一定水準。進入第一首歌 曲High Ban時可能因經驗原因,歌曲感覺不太穩定,令到了副歌部份稍微鬆散。但後來表演進入狀態後穩定度有所提高,整體節奏明快富動感;主音咬字清晰,rap部份表現不錯,整體流暢具節奏感。Walk my way以較輕鬆的氛圍開始,高音穩定度略有進步空間,少許繃緊的聲帶如可再多作放鬆可令歌曲更完整。但從整體而言樂隊的風格及技巧俱備,甚具潛力,累積更多演出經驗相信在現階段尤其重要。

– Becky Wong

The final act of the night promised to continue the amped-up atmosphere with some funky rock. They started off with some scratchy guitar, to which were added some fast-paced drums, a heavy bassline, and guitars so smoothly distorted that they may well have been directly taken from 2000s radio rock; it was immediately clear that this was another solid and tight live outfit. The singer soon joined in and he only added to that impression – he has a smooth, highly-controlled singing style and an easy-on-the-ears, radio-friendly voice, very much like one you would actually hear on the radio. He also resembles the MC5’s Rob Tyner from a distance, so that added to their rock credentials (in my mind only, I’m sure).
They started off with plenty of promise for funk, with injections of slap bass here and there, and the high-pitched guitars with tonnes of wah. High Ban was the most funk rock of their songs – a solid classic rock-derived beat, fast guitars and drums, with smooth tunes allowing the singer numerous occasions to reach a high note and hold it. However, they managed to do this while creating a big sound which reminded me of the big feel on albums of 70s bands like Chicago (and to be abundantly clear, I don’t mean that specific aspects of their music sounded this way, just the overall feel). There was a bit of speed metal on Epic Fail, while Fall Song and Walk My Way were generic rock, with some elements of 2000s brit-pop (but played with more prominent bass). A little funk (along with its brother, rap) returned for 689 to close out the set.
That said, they’re not very funky. I’ve always felt that bands cheat when they try to categorise themselves under that name simply because there is some slap bass or because they imitate the guitar sound that funk bands tend to use. Simply having the trappings of a “funk” unit is not enough, you need to earn that name. And ‘indie-rock’ they’re not (if by that one means to refer to the style). Hydroscope’s sound is much better described as generic pop-rock, with some funky embellishments.
All this nit-picking aside, I have the same problem with them that I have with many bands – there’s really nothing memorable about them. Even the slap bass and guitars don’t do it, because they’re not essential to the music, feeling more like an afterthought. I sympathise if their aim is to be just a party-music-type band, but it also needs to be pointed out that their music is somewhat shallow. They end up sounding less like RATM or Faith No More, and more like Extreme’s “Get the Funk Out”. What dissatisfies me is that there ought to be something, because the band is obviously talented and should be properly funky and interesting, but they’re not. They’re fun to listen to and they’re tight, and played a set that the people there obviously enjoyed their set, and they deserve credit for this. But the band has a chance to be so much more and, challenging though it surely is, I really hope they fulfil that potential.

— Shashwati Kala

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