Live review from Bud Rocks 2012 Hong Kong Final:


1. Neon

2. Pieces of You, Pieces of Me

3. Opium

4. Envoy

5. Nothing Lasts

The last band competing that night was a great contrast to Defiant Scum – as much as the latter were set in their ways in terms of sound, the former were far more malleable, moving between different styles through their songs. There was some Metallica-esque doom-and-gloom to begin with, moving into Foo Fighters-y territory, all in the space of Neon. They do tend towards the latter side of the spectrum, with lots of classic use of the Tele – reduced use of distortion, favouring the slightly wonky, twangy sound that the Tele makes when pushed. The guitarist seems to favour the ambiguous-feeling arpeggiation, reminiscent of Suede, and of the style that Sonic Youth helped create in Goo. There were bits in Pieces of… that were bluesier in a more Joe Perry-esque way, while Nothing Lasts was more light-funk (set to a marching beat, which was interesting), but guitars otherwise tended to traverse this territory. In particular, he reminds me of guitarist Xulfi from the Pakistani band eP, with his similar tendency for extended melodic moodiness.

The band, however, was hampered somewhat by the uneven singing. Their singer has a voice that could be edgy – it’s thin and nasal, and many a hardcore punk singer has used this to their advantage. In this case, however, the songs needed a vocal that was more accurate on the notes, as the misses tended to be more jarring than compelling. I’m all for having non-conventional voices that fool the listener’s ear into thinking that notes are being missed, but in this case it wasn’t like that. The songs also lost some of their impact because of some of the more egregious misses, and that simply doesn’t need to be so. They are otherwise a solid band, with some driving and enjoyable songs that lean towards the heavier end of the spectrum, and while they weren’t quite game-fit on the night, they showed a lot of potential along with their clearly realised skill. The answer to this is to just keep gigging, when they can, and polish their songs and technique, which I hope very much that they do, ‘cause they’re a good band.

— Shashwati Kala

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