Singapore Music Reviews: Marian Carmel, Lincey & Joie Tan, Poh Chin, whirring, Naeli Fulmaa, Shahrizal, dolltr!ck, Cold Cut Duo and Tay Kewei & Alfred Sim.

Singapore Music Reviews: Marian Carmel, Lincey & Joie Tan, Poh Chin, whirring, Naeli Fulmaa, Shahrizal, dolltr!ck, Cold Cut Duo and Tay Kewei & Alfred Sim.

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 Marian Carmel, Lincey & Joie Tan, Poh Chin, whirring, Naeli Fulmaa, Shahrizal, dolltr!ck, Cold Cut Duo and Tay Kewei & Alfred Sim.

Marian Carmel – ‘Still Here’

Marian Carmel is one of Singapore’s loveliest voices. So her enlistment into The Great Singapore Replay, a campaign devoted to unearthing, as it says on the tin, “Singapore’s rich musical heritage”, is rightful and deserving. But her instrument more than rises to the occasion. So emotionally rich, so dramatically quivering, so emphatically crystalline, is her voice that it becomes undeniable that it’s worthy of celebration on its own terms.

‘Still Here’ is about being still here. It’s a personal hymn of endurance, a hard-earned exhale after the rumblings from the shock of rupture have passed on, as the dawn’s light of an epiphany gilds your consciousness: People come and go, but you’re still here. While there is music, this song is all about the voice. Carmel sounds bewildered but beautiful.

Lincey and Joie Tan – ‘That Thing’

EDM hasn’t been celebrated enough for how powerful and evocative it is as a metaphor for hope. On this collaborative outing, Lincey and Joie Tan furnish an irresistible and undeniable thesis on contemporary dance-pop’s proximity to the meaning-giving belief in the sublime.

The individual’s search for ‘That Thing’ defines the arc of one’s history. It’s the most self-defining thing one will ever experience in life. It can be alienating and dispiriting or enriching but it will make you. All it requires of you is that you stay the course and trust the process. That’s the leap of faith Lincey and Tan celebrate and allude to. In verse and sound, they extol the unshackling from any concern that doesn’t support the all-or-nothing search for that thing. They make you feel that nothing else matters.

Poh Chin – ‘Like That’

‘I don’t know how you do it but you make me like that’ – honest words from the honestly christened Poh Chin. He doesn’t waste a single second trying to convince the listener that he doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve.

It’s an ode to his beloved, a bleeding-heart plea in which, “You should know that loving you is what I like”, is par for the course. It’s this raw sincerity and wide-eyed earnestness that gives you the faith that the rough-around-the-edges delivery and tentative rapping are rectifiable rookie mistakes.

‘Like That’ is a free fall into love – therein lies its payoff. If you’ve taken the plunge, you know how high the stakes are.

whirring – ‘Departure Song’

The Great Singapore Replay is Singapore’s love letter to our nation’s musical history, as well as our future, and on ‘Departure Song’, whirring makes a strong case for the next generation of talents. ‘Departure Song’ sees the indie-synthpop duo traverse deeply personal landscapes, while making it relatable to the common listener. Thumping percussions and bass echo throughout the track, but makes a proper impact during the future-bass-esque chorus. Vocally, the pairing of Aqid Aiman and Michelle Jeon balances out perfectly, as they effectively carry the weight of the issues at hand through their seamlessly harmonised vocals.

Naeli Fulmaa – ‘Welcome to Cloudland’

Despite his young age, Naeli Fulmaa is shaping up to be Singapore’s leading prospect for the funk genre. While he hasn’t mastered the genre just yet, he’s making great strides in his efforts to understand, and hone his craft. On ‘Welcome to Cloudland’, Naeli’s sound can be seen as a tribute to the likes of Daft Punk and Chromeo, with vibrant synths, crisp percussion, funky basslines, intricate guitar work and fitting vocals. Combine all those elements, and you have a roaring good time, condensed into a five-and-a-half-minute runtime.

Shahrizal – ‘All In’

Shahrizal is setting his sights on 2020, and he’s laser-focused. After a breakthrough year in 2019, the dawn of new decade is all about giving music his all. As he subtly lashes out at rappers lifting their feet off the gas pedal and slacking off, he puts himself in the spotlight with his aggressive flow. It’s apparent just how much Shahrizal believes in what he’s saying, that it’s almost hard to brush off anything he’s conveying as empty promises.

Cold Cut Duo - ‘1990’

Electropop duo The Cold Cut Duo’s '1990' is vivid with a playfulness that comes alive most prominently in the verses, where multiple references to signature old-school symbols that are reminiscent of - no surprise here - the ‘90s. The song starts off light, unassuming, then catches you unaware as it morphs into rap with a dynamic flow, mellowed by an aloofness that only heightens the persuasive voice that follows, lighting up the chorus.

While musically repetitive, the track avoids the monotony that most “carpe diem” anthems tend to fall into, thanks to its dynamic blending of flirtation and earnesty. All things considered, this throwback tune manages to be resplendent and fun while still remaining languorous and lighthearted.

Tay Kewei and Alfred Sim - '墨墨爱着你'

Immediately enveloping the song in nostalgia and sentiment is a childhood lullaby with the carefree, curious laughter of a baby mixed in. Protective and tender, it captures every parent’s joy undergirded by a soft streak of sadness, characterized by the sharp awareness of mortality and the inevitable passage of time. The hook “will you still want your parents’ embrace / we are helpless in the face of time” belies a tinge of bittersweet desperation in anticipation of the day where their grasp on their child slips.

Against the force of this emotional pull, the gentle keys gradually fade into soothing background noise as the duo croon their hearts into this compact love letter. In 3 short minutes, they have imprinted the vernacular of love and dedication, and encapsulated what it means to be eventually left behind, watching the silhouette of someone they have watched over all their lives.

Dolltr!ck - 'Back to You'

Dolltr!ck returns with ‘Back to You’, a spirited and buoyant track kept afloat by the energy it inspires. Its initially subtle, tinkling overture fools no one - before long, the beat plunges and the song soars into a passionate chorus, supported by synths that breathe life and rhythm into an otherwise unsurprising melody.

The song is straightforward, both lyrically and musically, and therein lies in its charm. It is compelling in its unadorned honesty, self-possessed in its sincerity. Charged and invigorating as it is, ‘Back to You’ is perfect as a dance hit or a motivational morning anthem.