PRIVATE JETS Jet Sounds (Sparkplug)

Swedish power pop has a great rep. Bands like Private Jets merely confirms why. Believe me, listening to this talented quartet, will leave you with a sugar rush. Throwing in every pop cliche in the book, from show tunes to Jellyfish riffs, enveloped with high-octane harmonies, toe-tapping rhythms, sensual chord changes and sweet sweet tunes, Private Jets don’t give pop junkies much of a chance of losing the habit. And the Beach Boys references are not limited to the album title – I mean, The Fire Academy contains jazz vocal arrangements that Brian Wilson himself would be impressed with. 

Elsewhere, you will catch the McCartney inflections (Jet!) on tracks like I Wanna Be A Private Jet, Speak Up, Speak Out and Starshaped World. If you’ve got the McCartney/Wilson camp on your side, chances are that the pop underground will adopt you as its own. Beyond that, I don’t know but anyone with a sweet tooth will find it hard to resist Jet Sounds.

Check out Private Jet’s Myspace page for more goodies.


YOU AND WHOSE ARMY? Misplaced (Self-released)

It’s a thrill and a joy when you witness a young band flowering and I’m glad that You and Whose Army? (viz. Bonk, Adam, Beni and James) have delivered on their early promise with a confident debut EP.


Compared to the live version (which is fairly one-dimensional), the opening track is a multi-layered mini-epic. From the acoustic guitar intro to the spine-tingling chorus harmonies to James’ blistering solo, this is a solid deep sonic accomplishment.

When Desire Strikes

A little quirkiness is always welcome and this song has its share. For instance, the guitar riff is intriguing to say the least and helps to lift When Desire Strikes from its overall melancholy tone. Good contrast. 


I love bands to be as eclectic as possible. Here is where Bonk’s Bjork influences rears its (ugly) head BUT this post-punk obsessive is picking early Japan (which I’m sure YAWA have never heard of). Heh. Great counterpoints between electronics and electric guitar work. Not to mention to jazz fusion middle eight and the punchy rhythm sets it apart too. 

Ordinary is King

My fave YAWA song re-recorded. Hmm, maybe I’ve gotten too used to the Ballyhoo version but somehow second time around does not seem to do the trick. Seems a little lightweight and not as meaty. Not quite as driven either. Ah well.


Well, this song is notable for the band changing instruments (except for James) during performance. Away from the odd “gimmick” and taken on its own, Misplaced is revealed to be a strong and touching track. Nice jazzy flourishes with a rock-ish coda seals the deal. Really.

I enjoy EPs. I mean who listens to a complete album nowadays? 3 – 5 great tracks and you’re set and with Misplaced, you’re definitely set. Don’t miss out on this fairly limited edition. Get your copy now from the band at [email protected] 



1. Why play music?  

We used to think it was a good way to get girls.

2. Who are your influences?  

Bob Hope & Frank Zappa

3. What is success?  

Bob Hope & Frank Zappa   

4. Why should people buy your music?  

Because they’ll get a return on their buck tenfold.

5. Who do you love?  

Kate Moss… but we can’t get her so we’ll settle for Captain Sensible.

6. What do you hope to achieve with your music?  

Peace, Harmony and a date with Kate Moss. 

7. Who comes to your gigs?  

We never sang for our father but our mother has come to the odd gig here and there.

8. What is your favorite album?  

“God Bless Tiny Tim”… a much overlooked gem.

9. What is your favorite song?  

“Revolution #9″…. very catchy stuff that is.  

10. How did you get here?  

By pure stupidity…. and now we have no chance for a decent retirement.

Epicycle’s brilliant new album – Jingo Jangle – is out now and available online from CDBaby and itunes.


Maybe it was the fact that I spent most of August overseas but somehow I was less than enthused with Baybeats 08. My expectations were pretty low for the event and fact is I only attended a couple of performances. So this summary by necessity only skims the surface and if you’re looking for something more comprehensive, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

However, what is clear to me is that the highlight of Baybeats 08 was the reunion of the Oddfellows. With all the fuss over emo and indie rock, it was a breath of fresh air to listen to unadulterated alt-rock, the way it first came to us in the 1980s as the Oddfellows channeled the likes of the Replacements, REM, Husker Du, Teenage Fanclub, Bob Dylan and Neil Young in their taut 30 minute set. 

The band viz. Paddy Chng, Johnny One, Vincent Lee and Kelvin Tan were on top of their game and like the best wine seems to get better with age. Delivering popular songs like So Happy, Lost My Head, Unity Song and Your Smiling Face, the band had the audience eating out of their collective hands. It’s a pity that with Johnny Ong residing overseas, these performances are far and between but I was thankful for the experience. I wanna be Paddy Chng when I grow up!

For me, the other impressive Baybeats 08 performance came from You and Whose Army? Simply gratifying to see the band in their element – communicating their raw blend of Pink Floyd and Radiohead (with a dash of Bjork) to a rapt audience. Probably one of the biggest gigs so far for this fledging outfit, it was satisfying to hear songs like Misplaced, Ordinary is King and Stuck ring out over Marina Bay. Sure, there were nervy bits here and there but you could sense that the band were reveling in the spotlight. 

I really wanted to catch Leeson’s set but due to work commitments got to the new Nokia Arena 15 minutes late and boy, was I angry. The design of the arena did not help as it was murder trying to see the band play. So I was reduced to craning my neck over bobbed heads at the uppermost level of the Arena squinting to catch a glimpse of the band. Somehow the band seemed dwarfed by the stage and unsuited to the environment. You see, Leeson – for better or for worse – is the quintessential pub-rock band. Which is not a putdown, seeing that one of my all-time favorite singer-songwriters (Elvis Costello) is also a pub-rocker at heart. Leeson needs to be savored up close and in your face, where the jaunty melodic mayhem of their catchy material can wash over your entire being and you’re in a position to see the glint in Jamie’s eyes as he delivers those witty musings on neurotic romance and to appreciate the kinetic energy and tight co-ordination of Gerald, Brian, Mark and Thomas. Still, the band gave as good as they could and I am comforted by the fact that Baybeats 08 provided great exposure for this worthy band and hopefully will open the doors for those intimate gigs that I crave…

One last thing. If nothing else, Baybeats 08 demonstrated that there is a massive audience for live rock music in Singapore. This was obvious from Electrico’s riotous segment at the Nokia Powerhouse. Packed to the brim, the band played an utterly professional set mixing old favorites with new ones. To be honest, the sound is too close to Oasis and Coldplay for comfort (and I really detest those two bands) but there was no denying the power and appeal that Electrico oozed from stage. I firmly believe that there is great potential in our S-ROCK music scene. It’s really all in our own hands.

… still there’s more …


JEFF LARSON Left of a Dream (Red Bell)

Larson is a veritable master at evoking the silky smooth sounds of the early 70s West Coast rock scene viz. latter-day Byrds, Crosby Stills & Nash, America, James Taylor, Neil Young and the Eagles. Which basically means that Larson is adept at mining the rich vein of country-folk Americana that delivers twang and soul with an easy vibe.

This spanking new album is no different and finds Larson is prime form, chockful of melancholy tunes and wistful lyrics, the perfect soundtrack to the dead of night when the world is quiet and thoughtful. With sparkling production values and pristine instrumental performances, Left of a Dream may be the epitome of the classic Californian rock approach.

Highly recommended.