Last week, we celebrated the latest songs from the canon of Made In Singapore music to reach the ether. Now, we dig deeper into our national anthems with a critical eye. Read our review of the latest songs by Louie Indigo, Bakers In Space, Midst, Coming Up Roses, KHAi, Ębønÿ, Sam Veil and HarithZac.
Louie Indigo – ‘INDIDRIP’
Louie Indigo is due for a coronation. His emergent solo discography is rapidly and emphatically positioning him as the King of Vibe. ‘INDIDRIP’ is his new calling card, the one he’ll be sure to flash when the lights dip, the floor has been warmed up and the drinks have taken adequate hold.
Even though the song chronicles a party on a yacht, it works just as well for a revel on land. The beat doesn’t so much as bang as it sways, with an intoxicating left-right rhythm that isn’t without a heady pound. To date, it’s also the best showcase of his sing-rap flow, of how he can coo like a seasoned R&B playa as well as unload confident, rapid-fire bars. ‘INDIDRIP’ is a gourmet serving of both those party-blasting elements. See how the floor moves the next time it comes on at the club.
Bakers In Space – ‘All The Time’
Bakers In Space's first single of 2019 is a fun, quirky return to form for one of Singapore’s brightest indie rock band. The track starts of with slow, isolated twangs of guitar chords before the drums kick in and things begin to pick up. The band experiments with a dash of shoegaze, giving its sound an unexpectedly exciting and new boost. ‘All The Time’, which was co-produced by James Lye, also features the band’s best sonic flourishes to date. The band’s comeback single is a strong one, and is bound to get people swaying and moving in a live setting.
Midst – ‘Pretend’
The latest single by the ambient trio is the perfect song to go with a glass of wine at sunset. The track starts with what sounds like a faint heartbeat accompanying the first note of the song before the haunting vocals kick in. The subtle melancholy of the song starts to become apparent as the lyrics discuss the pains of being separated from the one you love.
Lyrics such as, “I’m so far from your shore / But I know you’re there” and “It’s hard to pretend it’s alright / It’s hard to pretend that I’m okay”, also effectively alludes to Midst’s current situation – The band members are all in different countries and their latest release is produced across continents without the band members seeing each other face-to-face, which makes the song all the more poignant to listen to.
Ębønÿ – ‘Mai Tai’
The popularity of hedonistic, tough-talking, aspirational glam-rap cannot be denied. Singaporean artists are now actively chiming in on this trend – the fantasy is alluring because it’s everywhere.
Within the limits of this world, Ębønÿ does well because he’s made a song that’s as convincing as anything to pass from the likes of people who thrive in it: Your Rich the Kids and Lil Pumps and so on. But what stands out is his poised, clipped delivery. There’s a supreme swagger that emanates as a triumphant exhale and not an insistent blare. It’s precision-engineered for the club, which is the one place its lyrics can be quoted without the accusatory eyebrow-raise.
HarithZac – ‘Vibes’
‘Vibes’ is aptly titled: This song is indeed a vibe. Singapore may not experience summer like our Western counterparts, but if it did, this would be among the best summer tracks of the year. It’s a light, fun and and breezy listen. It doesn’t have a care in the world – it just wants to bask in the moment and soak up the good vibes. With his third release, HarithZac showcases progression. Expect to hear this at clubs and festivals, and expect to hear a lot more from HarithZac in the coming months.
Coming Up Roses – ‘Fall’
Coming Up Roses new single ‘Fall’ is a cheeky, youthful one. With clear-toned guitar riffs and light percussion, the song evokes a sense of floating in mid-air on a warm summer afternoon. The chiming vocals paired with the instrumentals make for a relaxing listen with an euphoric thrust. However, this might be surprising to some fans.
‘Fall’ differs vastly from their previous single, ‘Lies’. It's comparably less heavy, swapping distorted instrumentals in favour of a completely new sound that is light and airy. If ‘Lies’ was their interpretation of a Paramore sound, then ‘Fall’ is their version of a Florence + The Machine sound. This exhibits Coming Up Roses’ versatility as musicians and their ability to create music that never sounds the same.
KHAi – ‘Victoria’
The beauty of this song is fundamentally undeniable – it will never get old because love will never stop being the mercilessly complex force of nature that it is; there will always be someone left trembling in rain, begging to let in as the person on the other side of the door turns a deaf ear.
KHAi’s bleeding-heart love letter to a transient lover, Victoria, is gorgeously written, even without the benefit of its obvious tragedy. Without the pose of hardened cynicism, he falls to his knees to express his truth: That he has fallen for a one night stand that has driven a proverbial knife into his literal heart. “So casually / I became her casualty” – the stark, all-encompassing power of that line is tremendous. It animates the lovely swirl of vocals and instruments around it, bequeathing a timeless quality to KHAi’s tale about an encounter that, typically, is resistant to the binding essence of time.
The best songs can make the listener relate, regardless of the listener’s experiences. ‘Victoria’ comes from that place.
Sam Veil – ‘H.A.R.T.’
‘H.A.R.T.’ is a beautiful orchestral-like ballad that tugs on the heartstrings of listeners. Up-and-coming singer-songwriter Sam Veil demonstrates his ability to be vulnerable in this song as he sings about his feelings towards the person he loves. The vocal approach to this song seems to be reminiscent of pop-soul musician Lukas Graham, as Sam conveys his feelings of love and affection through this track.
The song kicks off with dramatic piano chords that quickly morph into an arpeggio. Gradually, towards the middle of the song, orchestral strings and percussion are introduced. All that contributes to making this ballad a sincere and heartfelt one, with all its sonic elements playing a part in helping Sam convey his feelings for the love of his life. The song wraps neatly by going back into the piano chords the song started with – A perfect circle ending.