The Start of Us by Noughts and Exes (Dec 2010)

N&O Album Cover -web.jpg

  • 1. The Crime
  • 2. Everything
  • 3. A Time For Love
  • 4. The Start Of Us
  • 5. The War
  • 6. Smile Like Cellophane
  • 7. Second Best
  • 8. The Madness I Make
  • 9. Death of the Foxtrot
  • 10. Surrounded
  • 11. Chasing Lights

Noughts and Exes, the Indie band making waves in Hong Kong have recently released their second CD ‘The Start of Us.’ Spearheaded by Joshua Wong and Gideon So, this record from start to finish is a treat. This release has been approached professionally, meticulously but most importantly passionately with every note and lyric deliberate, considered and effective.

Noughts and Exes consists of six very talented musicians and within every song the individual strengths of each member are showcased and then beautifully supported by the ensemble. This musical talent lends itself to some stunning tracks, with The Madness I Make, Surrounded and their first single The Start of Us highlights for me. These tracks showcase the spellbinding harmonies created by Joshua and Kerrie Anne, whose voices work seamlessly together. I found lyrically, that many of the songs manage to resonate with the listener. Strong themes of loss, regret and new beginnings run throughout the record, ‘I spoke of summers while you weathered storms‘ a beautiful example of Joshua’s work.

The arrangement of many of the songs follows a successful technique employed by the band throughout the record, with captivating stripped back moments followed by powerful, layered sections (showcased in A Time for Love fantastically, with the clapping sequence a highlight.) The arrangements throughout many of the songs build a captivating feeling of both suspense and release that makes this record enjoyable listen after listen. The cello parts by Marianne cut seamlessly through the layers of sound, with the opening of The Start of Us and sections of Second Best showcasing this perfectly. The glockenspiel parts by Gideon and Kerrie-Anne seem to float above the layer of sound, adding an innocent feel to the vocals and melody.

This record manages to be hauntingly beautiful in some places and uplifting in others but what impresses me most is the quality of this record. As with their live performances, Noughts and Exes strive for quality in every note they produce and this CD is a shining example of this. The first time I saw Noughts and Exes play (the first ever gig for the current line up) I was convinced they were on to something big and hopefully this delight of a CD will help them on their way.
Heather Lowe

Noughts and Exes are:

Joshua Wong: vocals, guitars

Gideon So: keyboards, melodic, glockenspiel

Kerrie Anne Butler : vocals, glockenspiel, percussion

Alex Bedwell: drums, vocals, percussion, typewriter

Marianne Bunton : cello

Winnie Lau: Bass

Read their live performance review from 2008 at Underground 83.

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