1. And So It Goes…
4. In The Eyes
7. The Silent Offender
9. Lovely Day
10. On and On
11. This Beautiful Space
12. …At Best
Ambitious and brave – they have been active all over the internet, signing to a company through social media and veering themselves right into the community of people who crave independent music. Hardworking and self-governing – they make their own artwork, print work, photography, video, music, it’s all done by the six of them.
Their 12-track release, self-titled ‘Noughts and Exes‘, writes a autobiographical story. It makes it so much more exciting that they are all genuine, whole-hearted and multi-talented, willing to let their music lead them instead of the other way around. They are in music for all the right reasons and understand what the music industry in Asia really look for, while also having a close relationship with their supporters. They seek to change the values of the modern music industry here through innovation and lyrics that let everyone relate.
Noughts and Exes are often described as indie-folk. This new album is an extravaganza of the relationships and personalities that stem from the band members themselves. Many would have heard of ‘Hearts‘ (Track 2), a folky and rhythmic staple song that was performed boldly in the center of Hong Kong’s Times Square. Joshua (guitarist/singer) collectively intertwines the harmonic qualities of his voice with classical instrumentals like the violins and brass and of course his acoustic guitar. However, before this we are lead into the album with ‘And So It Goes…‘ (Track 1) – elemental vastness and lively folk dance. This upbeat attribute is later continued in ‘Whole‘ (Track 5) – a complicated punchy soft rock song.
‘This Beautiful Space‘ (Track 11) is a peaceful, almost purgative song that was written about Joshua’s grandmother passing away, the expansive aura that tunnels through the deep bass and the tinging of the xylophone reinforces the sadness. Complimenting track 11, we can listen to ‘Collisions‘ (Track 6). I myself was able to indulge into those little lyrical details that depicted the imaginative and ethereal qualities within the band’s music. Yet on another level, the band is extremely raw and experimental – ‘Lovely Day‘ (Track 9) is a more clashy and dissonance-y (The best way to put it!) soundscape where plenty of unique styles come together to create something that sounds like an amalgamation of music genres while ‘Seconds‘ (Track 8) is an acappella piece that cleanses our hearing palates in preparation for songs that approach the final track. ‘…At Best‘ is a opinionated instrumental piece that seems to be a very post-rock inspired jam. The playfulness of the vocals leads to extremely lovely melodies and a volatile essence.
From reading the track listing in order, it sounds like an ambiguous poem waiting to be analyzed. Noughts and Exes reflect upon this ambiguity and leave us with plenty of wonder, contemplation and fresh blood in our hearts.
– Chloe Cheng