Gentle Bones & Myrne
Universal Music Singapore
The collaboration between indie-pop singer-songwriter Gentle Bones and electronic music wunderkind Myrne created quite a buzz in the home-grown music circle - a meeting of two Singaporean creative forces who stand head and shoulders above the rest in their respective scenes.
The two pre-album singles released last year, the disco-hued JU1Y and breezy B4NGER, were quite distinct from each other and explored different parts of the electro-pop spectrum.
The full, 10-song album confirms what was only hinted at in the two singles.
B4NGER PROJECT is truly eclectic, a delectable collection of futuristic, forward-looking pop that balances soulful hooks from Gentle Bones (real name Joel Tan) and crafty production from Myrne (real name Manfred Lim).
Tracks like CRA2Y, S3OUL and 7OVE YOU see Tan infusing pop sensibilities and meandering melodies into Lim's canny use of arresting drops, constantly morphing rhythms and modulated effects.
While songs like JU1Y, 5HE DGAF and HEART8REAK see Tan lamenting relationships gone south, various whimsical moments peppered throughout the release keep the proceedings from getting too mopey.
In V0DKA, which features a sensuous cameo by fellow home-grown singer Sam Rui, Lim drops a playful "public announcement" to his two collaborators: "don't drink and drive... and don't text your ex".
Joie, another recent local release, is the debut of budding singer-songwriter Joie Tan.
While not related to Gentle Bones, the pair have performed together. And like Joel's lyrics in B4NGER PROJECT, her album sees her craftily navigate the vagaries of being in and out of love.
The 10-track album is a testament to how far she has come from her early years singing pop covers on YouTube.
She shows off her musical versatility, whether through the bubbly pop-soul of album opener Can't You See or the stripped-down piano ballad, Right Here Right Now.
While Just A Little Bit is playfully flirty with a funk-lite groove, What Is Love's desperate plea and lush first half build up to an electronic rock soundscape.
She shines best in the dreamy, ethereal-pop track, How Long, a breezy juxtaposition of downbeat vocals with insistent, driving beats.
The subtle electronic touches throughout the album - handled by the home-grown dream team of producer Bani Hidir and mixer Don Richmond and with mastering by Evan Low - accentuate Tan's lissom vocals and canny grasp of melodies.