ALBUM OF THE WEEK

Music Review: Sparkly Singapore pop debuts

Juno Lin and Jacky Chew are two new home-grown male singer-songwriters who have released polished debuts, adding some excitement to the Singapore Mandopop scene.

Even better, their vocals remind one of other Singapore artists who have made a mark regionally.

Lin's lightly raspy pipes sound like Huang Yida's, particularly on the ballads Anyway, It's Love and Survival Of The Fittest.

  • ASIAN POP

    JUNO ¡UNO!

    Juno Lin

    Pharaoh Entertainment, Ocean

    Butterflies

    3/5 stars

  • JACKY CHEW

    EPONYMOUS EP

    Jacky Chew

    Pharaoh Entertainment, Ocean

    Butterflies

    3/5 stars

He conjures up a sci-fi scenario on Survival Of The Fittest, a number about holding on to your dreams: "Dreamt of a time machine, no manual can explain/Need to rely yourself to travel through time."

He also dabbles in electronica and rap, flirting with falsetto on Poison and gets pumped up with patriotism on War referencing Count On Me, Singapore with the English lines: "There was a time when people said it/That we were never gonna make it."

The lyrics were written by Lin while the music was composed by label-mate Chew, who takes a somewhat different route on his own record, even though War is on it as well.

There are radio-friendly ballads on Chew's eponymous EP that would not be out of place on a JJ Lin album.

He croons convincingly on It's My Bad: "I won't, don't want to, put an end to this/Can't pretend, can't fool, still need/Your goodness."

R&B rules on tracks such as Live Your Dream, a different take on going after one's dreams.

Defiance is palatably cloaked under a steady swinging beat: "Can you give me one more second/Can there be silence with no interruptions/Can you listen to me sing this song/Can you support the heartbeat of my dream."

Those are the key questions that Chew and Lin are throwing out there.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2015, with the headline 'Sparkly debuts'. Print Edition | Subscribe