TUX

Live review from Bud Rocks 2012 Hong Kong Final:

IMG_5854wtmk.jpgSetlist:

1. Is That All There Is

2. One Man Island

3. Over the Sea

4. Not the Same

The night started off with the youngest band in the room that day – in the sense that they were just about a month old, and this was merely their second public show. That fact didn’t show through much, though (other than the occasional look of nerves that seemed to cross the band members’ faces). The band are tight, and pulled off some neat musical maneuvers, and to top it all off have an infectious sound. They call themselves ‘dreampop-shoegaze’, and there certainly are some elements of the style in there; the long, extended notes in shiny guitar tones, with the intense drumming set behind to contrast it are there in droves. The guitars also occasionally move into melodic arpeggiated, still-shiny-tones mode, also a typifying feature of the genre are there too, particularly at the starts of songs (a good ploy, by the way, as it sets the tone for the songs very well). Singer Dawn sounds like a mix of D’arcy Wretzky from the Smashing Pumpkins and Moe Tucker from The Velvet Underground – hers is a soft, thin voice with a lightly papery quality, and yet can be quite powerful (if slightly patchy…which practice will probably improve) when power is called for, as with the wordless a singing in One Man Island.

However, the keytar and programmed synth add an element of 80s synth-rock, in the deep colourful hues hues of The Cars. There’s also a bit of Noughties rock, in the powerful drumming and insistent, loopy basslines, slightly reminiscent of local band Hungry Ghosts’ style. In all, they put me in mind of the mood of the Smashing Pumpkins’ Drown mixed with some 70s dance-rock and 80s synth-rock. There are times when this mix gets a little lost in itself, and can be stuck in the doldrums a bit, such that it feels like the song doesn’t know where to go and things go a bit flat; surprisingly, this happened in the middle of their fastest song Not the Same. I do think, however, that this is a matter of them being such a new band, and their musical and songwriting styles still being a little raw, and should be remedied with time. Their sound is different enough and their energy high enough for them to stand out among local bands. They even handled the nealr-ten minutes of technical problems well. I hold out hope that they will be around for a while; if their first two shows are anything to judge by, they could be a local highlight.

— Shashwati Kala

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