Do not be fooled by the kitschy, Village People-inspired costumes that home-grown indie veterans TypeWriter wear in their press photos and in their recent music video.
Unlike the campy disco get-up, the tunes in What You're Feeling Is Not Enough, their new EP launched over the weekend, contain no cheap gimmicks, just heartfelt, unpretentious tunes.
The 17-year-old band, fronted by singer-songwriter, guitarist and sometime harmonica player Yee Chang Kang, have matured musically over the years.
The tempos have slowed down, the guitars are less jarring and the jaunty anthems from debut album Indian Head Massage have given way to more nuanced, mid-paced jams.
Keyboardist and guitarist Alan Bok's addition to the band has certainly helped them attain a more layered and intricate sound, most notably in the swirly and ethereal instrumentation in the two songs that bookend the release, Everything Is Classified and Used To, My Love.
At the heart of it all, the band, which also include indie scene stalwart Patrick Chng on guitars and Desmond Goh from Electrico on bass, still retain their knack for crafting hooks and melodies that stay with you.
INDIE ROCK/POWER POP
WHAT YOU'RE FEELING IS NOT ENOUGH
But perhaps the most distinctive thing about the band is that Yee, like Chng famously did with his own band The Oddfellows, does not pretend to be anything but a singer born and raised in Singapore. He does not fake an accent and this makes the songs more endearing as he sings of issues such as the struggle to stay true to oneself while being expected to conform to societal norms.
They tackle this on Sorry, I Got Carried Away ("Say I want to know/ It's not perfect... so just what do you want me to be?"), and it is also a subject addressed by Chasing Daylight, an upcoming home-grown outfit which, like TypeWriter, also launched an EP over the weekend.
"Back to the books and our uniforms and ties/We're going back to doing what we're told/But is this your choice? Is this who you wanna be?/Or are we stuck playing someone else's game?", they sing on Stars, a track from the EP.
"The stars may align us, but they don't bind us," they later proclaim amid uplifting chord progressions and rousing choral vocals.
The self-titled four-song EP is the debut release by the band headed by Yap brothers Wei Chiang (vocals, guitars) and Wei Jin (vocals, keyboards). It is a batch of songs full of earnestness and heart, broaching everyman issues such as mustering up the courage to approach a crush (In This Moment) and dealing with lost loves (True).
The guitars and keyboards are lush, but never overwhelm. As with TypeWriter's new release, tunefulness and sincerity are the order of the day.