Albums Of The Week

Indie and full of charm

The Steve McQueens comprise (above from left) Joshua Wan, Aaron James Lee, Eugenia Yip, Jase Sng and Fabian Lim.
The Steve McQueens comprise (above from left) Joshua Wan, Aaron James Lee, Eugenia Yip, Jase Sng and Fabian Lim. PHOTO: MANEX EFREM
Lost Weekend (above) are made up of Rachel Tan, Zheng Jie, Mark Cheng and Ariff Atmadja.
Lost Weekend (above) are made up of Rachel Tan, Zheng Jie, Mark Cheng and Ariff Atmadja. PHOTOS: JENSEN CHING

Lost Weekend sing about young adult life in their debut album while The Steve McQueens churn out a lush, multilayered offering

A joyous love letter to the genre of indie rock and a peek into the vagaries of young adult life, Lost Weekend’s self-titled debut is a charmer.

Taking its cues from indie guitar icons from the last 30 years, the album contains shades of everything from The Smiths to Suede.

“And when indie bands teach you about love and responsibility, you better listen,” croons singer/ guitarist Rachel Tan on About Forever in her lovely, low-singing voice with a depth and quiver similar to 1990s Britpop singer Louise Wener from Sleeper.

Despite the singer admonishing a former lover on Ghosts (“the abandoned heroine, the luckless harlequin won’t be expecting a happy ending with you”), the album is not onethat gets boggeddownby heartache and regret, thankfully.

She and the other three members of the band also delve into wild nights out that lead to hangovers (Mornings) and the young urbanite’s sweet respite of the weekend( On A Sunday).

  • INDIE ROCK

    LOST WEEKEND

    Lost Weekend

    Self-released

    4 stars

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  • NEO-SOUL/JAZZ/FUNK

    SEAMONSTER

    The Steve McQueens

    Foundation Music

    4 stars

Sprightly, jangly guitars from guitarist Ariff Atmadja and Tan chime along before giving way to fuzzed-out wails and canorous verses that build up to rousing choruses, held together by the sterling rhythm section of bass player Mark Cheng and drummer ZhengJie.

While Lost Weekend – a threeyear- old quartet who have finetuned themselves through initiatives such as Baybeats’ budding bands scheme – are relatively young, neo-soul/jazz quintet The Steve McQueens are a super-group of sorts comprising virtuosos in the home-grownmusic scene.

On their debut album Seamonster, frontwoman Ginny Bloop (Eugenia Yip from electronic indie act Riot !n Magenta) coos, purrs and wails her way through meandering arrangements commandeered by keyboardist Joshua Wan, saxophone player Fabian Lim, bassist Jase Sng and drummer Aaron James Lee .

While the mood is mostly lush and mellow, there are plenty of layers to be discovered over repeated listenings, whether it is Sng and Lee’s astonishing and symbiotic rapport on the rhythm section, Wan’s warm flourishes or Lim’s sensuous lines.

Produced and recorded by British acid-jazz pioneer Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick at his London studio, Seamonster shines through its tight and intricate musicality.

On tracks such as Walls, Barbwire Tree and More Than We Know, the band tread a fine balance between technicality and songcraft, the melodies gliding along compositions that feel both structured and improvised.

“Don’t be a hater, I’m a soul generator,” Yip sings on Summer Star and you cannot help but agree and surrender yourself to the music’s cosy embrace.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2015, with the headline 'Indie and full of charm'. Print Edition | Subscribe