Albums Of The Week

Music reviews: Local singer-songwriters Lew and Sam Rui grow as artists

Both Lew (above) and Sam Rui are alumni of youth arts platform Noise Singapore.
Both Lew (above) and Sam Rui are alumni of youth arts platform Noise Singapore. PHOTO: HENZY DAVID
Both Lew and Sam Rui (above) are alumni of youth arts platform Noise Singapore.
Both Lew and Sam Rui (above) are alumni of youth arts platform Noise Singapore. PHOTO: SHAWNA CHIA

The debut album releases of home-grown singers Sam Rui and Lew show their musical evolution

Singapore singer-songwriters Sam Rui's and Lew's debut album releases are testaments to how much they have grown and developed as artists in the last couple of years.

Lew is known to many as the singing policeman, whose rendition of National Day song Our Singapore went viral two years ago.

Since then, the 21-year-old, whose real name is Lewis Loh, has been actively gigging with original material and putting up video covers online.

A lot of the online material feature just his distinctive, husky voice and the tender strums of an acoustic guitar.

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In contrast, the songs in Lullacry show just how rich his music can be when fully fleshed out with a band, which include sterling fellow homegrown musicians such as multiinstrumentalist Bani Hidir.

Tunes such as Boy I Knew, Wings and All I Am are vivid and retain a comforting, earthy tone.

  • FOLK/POP


  • LULLACRY

    Lew

    Self-released

    3.5/5 stars


    R&B/ ELECTRONIC

    SEASON 2

    Sam Rui

    Self-released

    3.5/5 stars

Loh, the winner of the Noise Singapore Award in 2015, also duets with another upcoming singersongwriter, Joie Tan, their voices blending smoothly in Reality and Baby Steps.

While his lyrics can get quite literal, the most striking aspect of the songs are how emotionally wrenching they can be as he mines heartbreak and a relationship turned sour.

Like Loh, Rui, an R&B/electronica singer who is also a Noise alumnus, delves into the gamut of emotions one experiences after a bad break-up. But while Loh's musical approach is warm and organic, she parlays a synth-heavy electronic palette and minimalist beats into a cool collection of seductive, post-heartache tunes.

It's a far cry from the folksy pop vibes in her early material and her transition to R&B siren in the past few years has certainly been an intriguing musical evolution.

The smattering of singles that she has released in the past year gave a hint of how forward-thinking her collaborations with electronic producer Grosse can get.

Season 2's 10 tracks affirm the pair's ability to craft their ideas into a solid and unified piece of work.

The album is savoured better as a whole as Rui explores post- breakup, essaying confusion and spite in early album tracks Better and Don't Lie, and, eventually, acceptance and closure in the last two songs Never Be (Let It Go) and 20,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2017, with the headline 'Charting their growth'. Print Edition | Subscribe