I despise religions – some of the world’s worst atrocities throughout history have been committed in the name of god (it’s not a recent development, so let’s not be sanctimonious about it). However, I do acknowledge that on the other hand, religions can sometimes inspire people to do amazingly good things, and some of the world’s most beautiful music had been written to the glory of the lord. So when I found the Chung Brother’s CD, the Chimes, in my hands, I was torn between curiosity and bigotry (yes, I get that way too but at least I am honest about it).
The CD bills itself as a Gospel album, which immediately piqued my curiosity, as it conjured up images of large groups in cassocks, with tambourine in hands and bopping left and right – the elder of the brothers, Henry, a well known blues harmonica player in town, certainly would not look out of place in a gospel choir, but I was interested in how it would work out in Cantonese However, I was soon to be disappointed – the album started with a short intro in traditional negro spiritual style and that was almost as close to a full blown gospel choir as it got (almost). Instead what followed was over an hour of delightful tunes in various styles, predominantly R&B based (think Ink Spots to Luther Vandross here rather than Rihanna) but interlaced, among others, with Latin throughout (Bossa/Calypso/Flamenco). The songs from the album are all well crafted and excellently performed, which is hardly surprising as a range of musicians from a Grammy nominee to many well known local performers counts among the featured artists. Rather than trying to analyse each song to death, which is not really my style, I think suffice it to say that on the whole they are musically interesting, well arranged and harmonised and once again, excellently executed.
To summarise, silky smooth and delightful. Whether you are trying to get away from today’s manufactured pop, or tired of today’s angst driven alternative rock, or missing the rich sound of bygone era, or simply in need of something relaxing to kick back for a quiet evening, leaving aside any messages contained in this CD (not in itself a bad thing, but to pass over this because of its religious nature would be a big shame), the work would appeal to you.