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Other hits from home-grown acts

The Straits Times | Yeow Kai Chai | Saturday, Apr 12, 2014

Local band: The Observatory

Indie rock

BRING BACK THE VIBE

The Pinholes

Self-released

*** 1/2

Stroll back to the good ol' 1960s as The Pinholes invoke innocent times. But wait. This isn't mimicry. In Bring Back The Vibe, a ramshackle ode to early rock 'n' roll, they get everything just right, without seeming try-hard.

Singer-guitarist Famie Suliman mumbles like a local boy version of, say, Swedish troubadour Jens Lekman. They both croon with a twinkle in the eye. Retro shindigs such as Shake N Bake and I Can't Wait have the everything-is-possible air about them.

They surf the fine line between gentle satire and heart-on-sleeve, nostalgia and modernity, with panache. Your brow arches when you hear a sly allusion to Supergrass' 1995 Britpop hit Alright in You'll Never Gonna Take My Life. Smart kids.

 

Ambient/experimental

BEHIND THE EYES: THE CATACOMB REMIXES

The Observatory

Self-released

****

The Observatory's relentless march into darkness reaches its apogee with 2012's Catacombs. It isn't for everyone, and rightly so.

Behind The Eyes, a full-album remix of that album, meddles with the songs to spectacular effect. Eleven musicians from Thailand, Japan, Norway, China and Singapore happily rewire the band's DNA and show potential growth areas.

There is light at the end of the tunnel (what of, we can't ascertain).

DJ Mentor scatters white noise, some gongs and a chill-out groove over Anger And Futility and even makes X'Ho's dulcet tones gruffer.

George Chua reconstitutes Accidentagram, elements clapping and clattering, with Leslie Low's mantra draped over like a veil.

Lasse Marhaug exorcises any regular beat by amplifying the gnarled menace in Ends To No Means, like cross-wires zapping one another.

Overall, it's a rabbit hole to somewhere riskier and more exciting.

 

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