NOTHING IS UNDER CONTROL
Feeling Good Music
Eason And The Duo Band
Universal Music Hong Kong
The idea that nothing is under control can be a scary one, but it can also be a liberating epiphany.
Accordingly, there is a free-and-easy vibe on Hong Kong singer-songwriter Yoyo Sham's follow-up to her acclaimed debut Here (2015).
Opening Cantonese track Kai Chang Bai (Bon Voyage) has an improvisational and whimsical feel, as if one were in an intimate jazz club as she addresses the audience: "There's two more minutes, ladies and gentlemen/White clouds will drift overhead".
She flits easily among Cantonese, Mandarin and English and from genre to genre, following where her muse leads her.
Scrambled Eggs Blues scrambles English and Mandarin in a number torched by her bluesy vocals: "Scrambled me, scrambled you/Hear my scrambled blues".
Mandarin duet Yi Miao (Just Another Day) features feted Hong Kong singer Eason Chan - for whom Sham started out as a back-up singer. The poignant ballad was written after she witnessed a fatal car accident a few years back - "Forgive me for leaving/Haven't had time to return your love".
She also appears on L.O.V.E., an album credited to Eason And The Duo Band as its genesis was during Chan's Duo world tour from 2010 to 2012. The idea was for everyone who was part of the tour - including the late singer-songwriter Ellen Loo, who played guitar on it - to contribute to an album that would commemorate their time together.
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Sham's contribution is the English track Run, for which she wrote the music and lyrics and sings with Chan - an elegiac ballad ("Last night I had a dream/That I was on an endless run") that would not be out of place on Nothing Is Under Control.
Mostly though, the mood is more upbeat on the mostly Cantonese album: a relaxed gathering of musician friends having a blast jamming together.
Po Huai Wang (We Zzzzid It) is an energetic track with a context-setting rap: "Here we go again/On the train, on the same plane/Best friends we became".
Perhaps inevitably, the collection feels a bit disparate though it is all tied together by Chan's reliable vocals.