1. 3:1 II
2. Don’t Believe (KOLOR x Andy is Typing…)
3. Karma 因果
4. Electronegativity 從何時變得不可能
5. Lost Pearl (English Version)
6. Take A Break (Shelf-Index Remix)
After five years, local alternative band Andy Is Typing… releases their first EP: 《3:1》.. When I last wrote about them last in 2018, I recall thinking that they were a little bland, a little too much like a run of the mill Cantopop band but one that I found exciting nonetheless. There was potential, their single Forget Me Not was a lengthy collab with harmonica legend Cy Leo – odd choice for collaboration for sure, but that harmonica solo was better than any guitar solo I’ve ever heard! Over the past few years, the band shows definite growth; they’ve found their voice and is gradually moulding and shaping their sound. While they are still clearly an alternative band with a very clear Hong Kong voice, I have to rescind my previous criticism that they sound run-of-the-mill because 《3:1》is a multilingual party with American rock, Cantopop ballads, Party Anthems and French narration (of all things!).
But what exactly is their voice if they’ve now spread out to so many more genres (and languages)? Many of the tracks on the EP are remixes of previously released singles and shows a real drive for imaginative reinvention and general improvement. The final track Take a Break (Shelf-Indie Remix) was originally released in 2017 as a slightly experimental heavy rock track with lots of solo bass, a drummer who seems to be playing 6 instruments at once and a bit of psychedelia to boot. This new and improved version is electronic, mixed by DJ Shelf-Indie and begins with synthesized heavy breathing and distorted vocals which are pitted on opposing channels, as though the band is having a conversation with themselves resulting in a grim, dark and highly introspective track. The song ends with the line “Why don’t you take a break” followed by the distorted breathing slowly dying out. It’s interesting that the original Take a Break wasn’t included in the EP mix; this new version feels like an art piece which, as all of us in music knows, is deserving of praise but might not be the most popular.
In their album notes, the band says that with DJ Shelf-Indie’s remix, they’d like to explore more electronic music but they’ve already done that several times on this EP, their opening track 3:1 II is a rewritten, not remixed, version of their first single 3:1. The band has a fascination with this ratio; an inside joke about how the band’s background has always been “Three people studying one thing, one doing another” but now some golden number for their success judging by how many times its used. This new version begins with the sound of an industrial elevator going up followed by a synthesized riff, the guitar hook and then rap. A lot of very quick musical changes but all of it works. You’re thrown into a sea of rhythms so rapidly, you don’t even realize that you’re yelling along to “I’m suffering! I’m suffering!” at exactly the one-minute mark. This, by the way, is also the track with the French soliloquy; I don’t speak French but it sounds cool and I like it. Unlike Take a Break (Shelf-Indie Remix), 3:1 II is the band’s own reworking and so it includes all the core elements of the original song – the melody, the hook, the drive and the vibe – but it pushes the boundaries of what one would’ve considered a normal alternative track.
All in all, 《3:1》is a great EP. It’s an honest surprise that after four years in the field, they haven’t released one yet, but it shows what time and care Andy is Typing… takes to develop their creativity. There’s a good mix of English and Cantonese pop songs, all with a very local sound; it’s rare to have a band which holds their ground so well in both languages. Their Cantopop tracks are easy to listen to, definite popular for the general market, while their remixes and experimental collaborations are artistic treats for those who want something a little different.