Live review from Sub Terra #4:
3. Fraction of Time
4. Matter of Love
5. Rock and Bling
6. Under My Skin
Opium’s love letter to Wanchai gets their set into gear. A sultry, French and English number which straight away shows us that French lead singer Ingrid is the band’s beating heart. Their dark, seductive sound weirdly matches her gesticulation-heavy stage presence.
On Shadow, lead guitarist Bernard plays a constant riff on his top strings which gives it a cool hum throughout, like a car engine running. Parked. Ready to put the foot down. The nice uncomplicated drum rhythms work well with Stephanie’s bass, driving the song. Ingrid gives absolute feeling and emotion to each word she sings. Bernard now comes down the lower frets for the solo, giving this song a healthy sprinkle of the White Stripes.
Ingrid tells us we’re now in for a little trip hop and we welcome Yee to the stage to join the band on keyboard. His gentle keys really change the dynamic of the band, there’s now a delicate, dreaminess which creates an interesting contrast to Ingrid’s sort of brash vocals on Fraction Of Time. There’s a clear sense of melancholy. I can picture it in a film, perhaps a scene where two lovers are walking away from each other – bringing romantic ambiguity. It feels more like dream pop rather than trip hop, echoing a bit of Julia Holter. And the guitar solo is a real sweet piece of magic.
A lot of love from the house for the reggae vibes on Rock and Bling along with it’s Pink Panther-esque intro. I’ll go as far to say as this is where the band clicks. Stand out song for me. Things get theatrical on Under My Skin, like that bit in a musical where we first meet the bad guy and he tells us how he’s going to catch the good guy and mess his world up.
They finish off with Regrets and this takes a bit of time to come together, but happens with a bang on the chorus. The simple set up of the band coupled with Ingrid’s intensity really works and grabs the room. I’d love to see what this band could do with a bigger crowd giving them more to feed off. I get the feeling it would light these guys up. But despite that, they’ve managed to burn pretty brightly tonight.
– Simon Donald Jones
作為Sub Terra 4嘅第二隊，Opium跟首隊樂隊The Folk-Ups低調嘅作風截然不同。呢隊組合嘅女主音係來自法國嘅舞蹈家Ingrid，擔當著四個樂隊成員之中嘅前台frontwoman角色，一舉一動都有種忘我嘅感覺，半說半唱嘅高音風格亦有少少Janis Joplin嘅影子。
Opium當晚嘅表演基本上可以分為三場：第一場係重搖滾、第二場係九十年代英式trip-hop、第三場係reggae。無論以乜野風格演繹，佢地歌曲嘅基礎結構都十分簡單，可能只不過不停重覆同一個chord progression。但係仔細聆聽後，就會發覺佢地嘅音樂其實非常精緻。聽開band嘅人會知道，一支結他、一支bass同埋一套鼓製造出黎嘅音樂，聲音可以好空曠，但又可以好擠擁。就如頭兩首歌「Wanchai」同「Shadow」而言，三樣樂器重疊彈一個riff，彷彿成為主音Ingrid自我發揮嘅平台，感覺有少少似聽緊Patti Smith。到咗Trip-hop嘅一段，結他、bass同埋電子琴反而各自發揮，互相穿插，增添咗少少Portishead／爵士樂即興演出嘅味道。Opium俾筆者嘅感覺唔係「歌手加伴奏」，而係堂堂正正嘅「樂隊」。
– Elson Tong
Live review from The Underground “Back to its Roots” Festival Part 1:
2. Fraction of Time
Ingrid Sera-Gillet isn’t well. The Opium singer-songwriter woke up on the morning of her band’s carnival appearance unable to speak, yet decided to soldier on. With a lack of vocal power, her mic was cranked up high, which resulted in occasional feedback interference.
This didn’t detract from a sultry, passionate performance oozing with retro glamour. Bassist Stephanie swapped her guitar for a melodica for second song Fraction of Time. The former flamenco dancer sashayed and swayed in time with the music; an intoxicating blend of trip-hop beats, offbeat singing and shimmering Portishead guitar chords.
Persevering through vocal issues, Sera-Gillet reached her stride on Shadow, introduced as a song about what happens when a former flamenco dancer finds new solace with a group of musicians. The pop-based song with a catchy vocal hook built steadily until being overthrown by buzzsaw guitars and lyrics howled with the growling aggression of Shirley Bassey. Dark, gothic, and goosebump-inducing stuff.
– El Jay