Spaceman exudes cosmic charm

This album has been a long time coming.

Acclaimed Taiwanese band sodagreen released their last album, Winter Endless, in 2015 and announced the following year that they were going on hiatus.

Of the members, the one most likely to embark on a solo career would be Golden Melody Award-winning songwriter and lead vocalist Wu Ching-feng.

Eventually, he dropped singles, such as Everybody Woohoo last year, and took part in the singing competition television series Singer 2019, in which he finished second.

Spaceman, his debut solo record, was finally unveiled last month.

Gratifyingly, it is not a collection of previously released songs, but a coherent, well-thought-out work.

There is imaginative storytelling in this fantastical music journey with space being a recurrent theme on tracks such as Spaceman, Space and Spaceship.

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    Wu Ching-feng

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His penchant for witty wordplay can be seen on the poignant ballad Spaceship, as taikong can mean "space" as well as "too empty": "Travelling through space, heart is too empty, at your instigation."

His high-pitched voice, now familiar and well loved, can still surprise.

In the upbeat Carnival Of Babel, he draws one's attention by dragging out the syllable "ye", meaning occupation in one line and night in the next.

Wu gets free rein when it comes to the music and playful touches abound.

Spaceship opens with what sounds like retro computer-game music, while the spare-sounding Collector Of Echoes incorporates an unexpected xylophone break.

On one level, the album is a reflection on his identity as a singer-songwriter, a "lonely spaceman" looking in from the outside.

The musician's journey can be a solitary one, but Wu comes to terms with it in the album closer Outsider, because "through a song/I have found those who have the same kind of dreams as me".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2019, with the headline 'Spaceman exudes cosmic charm'. Print Edition | Subscribe