Wednesday, September 30, 2009
EDGAR'S FAULT- Edgar's Fault CD(Route 88 Music Production 1991)
--sojourner at 7:50 AM
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
BAND OF SLAVES- 45 MCD(Prometheus Sound Art 1993)
Raunchy rock n'roll is the secret passion of many a so-called punks who wish to progress beyond the three chords to do four. Jared Ellington, a teenage skinhead from Anti-Social Kiosk (an old punk band from the Opposition Party era) shared this passion and while hanging out at Woodstock at Far East Plaza, met a bunch of rockers from Route 88 and together they formed Edgar's Fault, a rock/heavy metal outfit heavily influenced by the LA sound. Their big break came when their song “Positive Mental Attitude”, appearing on WEA's “Let's Celebrate” compilation got positively acclaimed as the best song on that record. Eventually they did not get signed to WEA but released their debut album on the independent Route 88 Music instead.
The material on this CD is best described as a blend of hard rock with a fair mix of heavy music and ballads that sounds mostly like Guns N' Roses and Skid Row affairs, although Jared seems to be also quite heavily influenced by Dave Mustaine's (Megadeth) vocals. “Dead Roses”, the opener is a popular material from the band, having extensive radioplay on the old Radio Heart station. This song is hard rocking with vicious riffs, cool licks and catchy chorus, the string works of both guitarist John Chee and bassist Kamal, and Jared's raw, nasty vocals cooking up a lethal combo. “Doctor Doctor” (I'm surprised that this song managed to pass the censorship in 1991), “Never Say Die (Part I and II)”, “Master Swindler”, “Black Eye” and “Speed Sleep” are the other more upbeat rocking songs from the album, and they are great metallic music to headbang on the mean streets, to the same effect as the omnipresent influence, Guns N' Roses. While “Our Tree”, “Dear Lord” and “You're Not The Only One” (another heavily featured song on radio back then), are more soft rock ballads that are distinctive, memorable and mandatory for any self deserving LA influenced rock band to showcase their sensitive side, haha. “21 Second War” for the record, is just 21 seconds of filler. The technical proficiency of the band is nicely demonstrated on the songs here, with some very neat sounding riffings and drum fills, and of course sounding nothing like simple punk numbers, yet very punk in attitude.
Edgar's Fault was supposed to have recorded another album featuring old material, after Greg (the drummer guy after Bong) and Kamal left the band but we didn't hear from them anymore. Last thing I heard Jared left for Canada, so it could have possibly spelt an end to this cult band from the early '90s. Those long hair, facial hair, leather and the bad ass attitude is not a regular feature in today's rock music but for those who relish the crazy sounds from those wild days, you'd have agreed that Edgar's Fault did it exceptionally well. From the way I see, they fittingly commemorated our favourite “Dead Roses” and its generation of jaded rockers.
--sojourner at 7:41 AM
There are a number of things going on with this EP from Band of Slaves. This was made by the band after been spurred on by the death of its vocalist, the late Ian Xavier, who met his misfortune at the Tornado Disco incident. As Alan Ann, the bassist puts it in an age-old interview, “it's not the motivation we would ask for but this will certainly be the impetus for us to buck up and complete the album.” And hence this commemorative MCD. Band of Slaves were great entertainers with their energetic, highly groovy blues rock-reggae music and socially conscious lyrics, rocking the circuits since '87, but this EP “45” is an artwork that is somewhat dark and ominous, the handiwork of Ian and his passings. Ian wrote the song “Eternity” as an eulogy to his late father and lyrically it talks about death, which is eerily philosophical and prophetic.
Band of Slaves were few of the local bands after IGTA that did rock reggae before The Bushmen revived the movement. Musically they were very much influenced by The Police, Bob Marley, Don McClean, Lenny Kravitz and Bob Dylan. The MCD contains five songs, of which all are original materials except for “Redemption Song”, a Bob Marley cover, which is a surprising choice given so many other more reggae selections from this legendary man, yet this may also seem like an appropriate choice for the sombriety of the stuffs here. Selena Wee was roped in to do some of the vocals here, like “Blue Gates” and “Another Cold War” whereby the former has a Latin soul style and the latter more roots rock. “And Justice For Some” (is this a wordplay of Metallica's “And Justice For All”?) is the only song that has a strong reggae sound, which may not seem obvious at first with its contemporary pop piano passage.
I personally think that this tribute feels rather heavy on the heart, prefering their more cheerful material on “New School Rock III”, music that brings one back to the good ol' days when Band of Slaves and The Nonames were pleasing the crowds with their laidback roots and reggae. Still despite the apparent sense of seriousness with “45”, it is a very strong release which is unfortunately too short in length (what else do we expect from an EP) and too limited to make it to more Singapore music lovers. This MCD of mine is handnumbered and I don't remember seeing it been sold anywhere after I purchased it many years ago (maybe I bought the last copy), like all the mysteriously elusive Singapore music CDs out there. Let's say according to popular belief that very few people support local music, then where did all those CDs go to? Burnt? There MUST be another person spinning “45” somewhere on this island.