Singapore Music Reviews: thecolorfractal & Gail Belmont, Jenk$ & Killmeslow, Lincoln Lim, Jjdroy & LATRO, dolltr!ck, and $ain't

Singapore Music Reviews: thecolorfractal & Gail Belmont, Jenk$ & Killmeslow, Lincoln Lim, Jjdroy & LATRO, dolltr!ck, and $ain't

Every Friday, many local musicians release new music that flies under the radar. To bring you the best new local music releases this weekend, we've compiled a playlist featuring some of the newest songs out from artists such as thecolorfractal & Gail Belmont, Jenk$ & Killmeslow, Lincoln Lim, Jjdroy & LATRO, dolltr!ck, and $ain't.

thecolorfractal – ‘untitled (what’s it gonna be) feat. Gail Belmonte’

Imagine a Neo-soul paradise, where the mood is as luxe as the setting, where sepia-glowing lights enfold the confines in an embrace as intoxicating as it is intimate. At the heart of it all sits a proposition: “Let’s just break out this routine / Of living just to service the machine”.

thecolorfractal thrives in the singer-songwriter mould but this is his first unveiling as a world-builder. The song is an overture, an outstretched hand to a paramour, an invitation to run away to a better life, where there they can live on no other terms but their own. Swells of bass that luxuriate in the sublime power of groove lead the thrall of the instrumentation, which incorporates the usual suspects of the sound to sign off on a thesis of gorgeousness, which the two voices contribute to.

While Belmonte sings that she needs more time, you get the feeling that, by the end of the song, her bags are packed.

Jenk$ and killmeslow – ‘memories’

With the benefit of present evidence, we know now that hip-hop and emo were destined to collide. That big bang happened in the fertile solar system of the Internet, spawning a hybridised aesthetic that was faithful to its parents’ vernacular.

In Singapore, killmeslow and Jenk$ have dutifully carried the flag for this sound and movement, claiming the lane as theirs and owning it completely. But this song is something else.

I love that they’ve flipped the script on emo-rap’s production tics, swapping out “emo”-flavoured beats for an actual emo backdrop: Guitars, bass and drums. This is pop punk—esque third wave emo over Auto-Tuned laments that connect the narrative dots between loving and dying. Even though it’s new-ish, it’s steeped in a history which it takes you back to – a safe place spared from the demands of hype and flash.

Lincoln Lim – ‘Heaven’

Your name is all I’ve been singing again and again.

I’ve never bought into the popular belief that pain is a reliable muse and this song proves me wrong – again.

‘Heaven’ closes out Lim’s debut EP Gravity released just a week ago and it’s the best song he has ever written. Sweeping statements usually ring hollow but my feelings about this song reverberate with its epic sadness and anger. A breakup of a relationship that meant everything to one or both parties is never just a breakup. It’s the total disintegration of a belief system and a way of life, a religion with empty temples. ‘Heaven’ bristles with those high stakes; its gorgeous arrangement is a staging ground for the push-pull between beauty and desolation. Like the music, Lim’s vocals, though forceful and impassioned, quiver under the weight of his words, painting not a picture of a scene but giving colour and drama to a movie, about a heaven that was.

Jjdroy, LATRO – ‘Dreams’

With ‘Dreams’, Jjdroy and LATRO are making clear their plans for 2020: This is the year they fully commit to chasing their dreams. After a hallmark year in 2019, the dawn of new decade is all about giving music their all. Jjdroy and LATRO trade impassioned bars over a slow, steady beat. The two tackle topics such as past betrayal from closed ones, finding new support systems, getting in touch with their true passions, and never giving up. 

The two deliver their verses with such conviction, that you can’t help but believe them. Make no mistake, these aren’t empty statements, they’re spoilers for what’s to come from two of the country’s fast-rising students of the game.

$ain't – ‘Beauty’

For his first track of 2020, $ain’t switches things up from his typical sound. He steps away from the heavy bass, which he featured a lot in his earlier singles, and puts forth a mellow and easy listen with a lighter touch. It’s a refreshing change of pace, and one that effortlessly and effectively showcases the rapper’s artistic growth. 

Apart from veering away from his typical flow, $ain’t also doesn’t really rap on ‘Beauty’, but turns in a smooth R&B performance that simply can’t be ignored.

dolltr!ck – ‘Make It Better’

The solo artist project of Singaporean electronic musical Claire Marie Lim, dolltr!ck is a culmination of her background as a DJ, remixer and live performer. 2019 was a big year for her, as she gave listeners a first look at her EP, Innocent Intentions, and introduced us to her unique blend to feel-good electro-pop. 

‘Make It Better’ continues in that same vein, starting off with soft keys and synths bubbling beneath the surface, before things kick into full gear with a hyper-energetic and dancey chorus. There’s an infectious energy to the song that cannot be denied. If you’re having a bad day, this song will make it better. Pun fully intended.