Aug 062015



Wow! This happened! Quite out of the blue and somewhat under the radar, Allura has dropped a new EP after disappearing for SIX years!

I won’t lie – listening to the 1832 EP is akin to a religious experience! The musical sophistication displayed in these new recordings is a wonder to behold certainly.

“Rain” is an interesting amalgam of pop with experimental musicality, “Loose Change” is an intensely emotional diatribe and “Cold*Player” is an intriguing piece that deserves a couple of plays to fully soak in.

Kudos to Aaron, Mark John, Inch, Matt and HQ for putting this wonderful gift together – it’s been too fucking long!

And that’s not all, Allura reunites for a live performance at this weekend’s 100bands festival on 8th August at 8pm!

100bands - weekend2


… still there’s more … 

Jul 102010

At the end of the show, the crowd was baying for a drum solo from Han Quan, which he duly obliged to the enjoyment of everyone in the room. And that was that.

Somehow, this so-called farewell show felt more like a reunion than anything else. Mark John informed me after the show that he hadn’t played with the band for almost a year! A third into the set, I realized how much I’d missed the band – there was a time that watching an Allura show was part and parcel of my routine! Heady days…

Indus Gendi (yet another young band I’ve known since 2007) started the proceedings, somewhat hampered by the inferior sound but storming through. The three guitars threatened to drown out Esther’s vocals but she managed to stay in key and delivered a competent performance. As did the band. Indus Gendi has changed much since the early days when Esther used to sing behind her keyboards but the music is still strong despite the changes. I still believe that Indus Gendi will find its place in our music scene and beyond.

What was truly special about Allura’s performance despite the challenging sound issues was a sense of togetherness amongst the band, family, friends and fans. For me personally, once I had immersed myself into the heart of the beast, it became sheer bliss. The beast? Well, playing in a band is much like building a perfect beast and for Allura, these five talented individuals melded into this creative force – a beast. Aaron’s driving rhythm, the foundation of Han Quan and Matt, the guitar lines of Mark John filling in the spaces in-between and finally, the glue of Inch’s vox holding it all together simultaneously as banshee and baby girl.

Along with the Fire Fight’s final gig, this night was probably one of the best gigs I’ve experienced for a very long time. It was never about note perfection but getting the balance right. And all in good fun, even as Mark John’s out-of-tune guitar provided a jocular moment in the midst of Gamajazillion, it failed to diminish the power of the song. It seemed surreal to me that after realizing what I had missed for so long, I would not be able to watch Allura live again for some time to come…

Which perhaps why it is the right time for Inch’s debut album to be released – even as lead track Mt Epiphany worms its way into my heart and soul (its been on repeat the whole time I’ve been writing this post). So as one chapter is closed, another one opens…

So big hugs to Inch, Mark John, Han Quan, Aaron and Matt, we’ll see you once again as Allura soon.


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Jul 092010

Pardon me if I get a little nostalgic and misty-eyed. Three years may seem like a short time but for me it’s been an interesting one.

In mid-2007, I was at the (old) *SCAPE on a Saturday afternoon and a very young-looking band took to the “stage” (well there wasn’t one but y’know) featuring four guys with cool barnets. I remember thinking specifically that the drummer looked 13 and one of the guitarists was rather exotic looking. And where was the singer? I noticed that there was this little girl hanging around in the background, dressed casually in a tee and shorts, it couldn’t be her, right? Believe me, I was expecting the worst…

And then they started playing. To be honest, the music didn’t really impress me but that singer – whoa! She was a bundle of raw energy and power. I could not believe the transformation – I was quite transfixed by her performance. Oh and I thought the 13 year old drummer kept really good time.

Of course, the band was Allura. The rest, as they say, is history.

In the next three years, I followed Allura quite a fair bit and you can find my ruminations here or at the S-ROCK blog. Allura has been on hiatus for some time now, as both Matt and Aaron have had to serve NS. Now it’s Han Quan’s turn and my favorite little drummer boy wants one more gig before he surrenders his pink IC. Lucky us, I’d say!

So its certainly not goodbye to Allura – I’m sure they will be back and stronger! Therefore, tonight’s gig at Blu Jaz Cafe at 8.30pm is one of those not-to-be-missed S-ROCK occasions. Not only that but with the latest incarnation of Indus Gendi opening, it’s certainly value for money. Best yet, it’s FREE!!!

See you there. I will be the one crying in the back corner, somewhere…

Pix stolen from Inch Chua’s Facebook’s page.


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Nov 302008

This probably sounds a little nuts but sometime’s love will make you do crazy things. Regular visitors will know that I absolutely love Gamajazilion, off Allura’s brilliant EP, Wake Up and Smell the Seaweed. 

Well, you know, I tried looking for the song on youtube and came up zip. So…

iMovie is amazing… enjoy.


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Oct 032008

ALLURA – CLOSURE (off the Wake Up and Smell the Seaweed EP)

Regular visitors to this humble site (and S-ROCK before that) will be aware of my love affair with Allura. Closure remains my favorite song from the band (though Gamajazillion runs close) Here’s a vid of the band performing Closure in August last year at Deafcon 5. A little rough but there’s no denying the energy and passion. Ah, the memories…

And isn’t Inch just an irresistible front person?


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Jul 192008

By now, regular visitors to the Power of Pop will be aware of my affection for this young band. Talented and down to earth, always fun to hang out with and a sheer joy to watch in performance, I never miss an Allura gig if I can help it.

The Prince of Wales at Dunlop Street is not the most forgiving place for a rock band to play. It’s small and the sound is unavoidably bad and the crowd is mostly made up of expats eager to talk rather than to listen. 

These difficulties did not escape the band and was evident from their faces but it did not prevent them from giving a good show even if the audience was mainly family and friends. But I enjoyed myself immensely, it felt like Allura was playing a private show for yours truly. Cool, huh?

Yes, I must admit it wasn’t the band’s best but then again, I don’t recall a time when the band was outright horrible but then, it never is with my fave bands. Heh! 

The usual set list was dragged out, with a lusty Liberty With Wings, frenetic Gamajazillion and heartfelt Closure racing the pulse. And … a new song was debuted, the rather complex Rain, with echoes of The Who and XTC resonating with these ears. It was hard to discern a chorus or hook but I’m sure the band will work on that…

Again, thanks to the band for great music and good company – Inch, HQ, Mark John, Aaron and Sean. Till the next one…

… and there’s more …

Listen to Allura at Myspace.


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Jul 162008

Yippee! Allura will be playing at the Prince of Wales on Friday, 18th July at 9pm. Here’s a great chance to get upfront close and intimate with one of Singapore’s hottest young bands. For me it’s another opportunity to soak in the wonder of Closure and Gamajazillion! Joy!

See you all there! Say hi!


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Jun 212008

ALLURA Wake Up and Smell the Seaweed (Aging Youth)

Truth be told, the first time I ever laid eyes on Allura (at Open Stage @ *scape) slightly more than a year ago, it was Inch that caught my attention with her stage presence. But in the last year or so, I have fully appreciated that Allura is a unit and a pretty impressive one. Mark John and Aaron provide the twin guitar impetus whilst HQ and Matt are a formidable rhythm section. Together, up on stage, they are a force to be reckoned with. But that’s not all, together they have also composed a clutch of songs that will knock you over with their maturity, sophistication, kinetic energy and sheer grace. This EP is one of the finest debuts by a Singapore band that I have ever had the pleasure to listen to. It is so exciting to witness a fledging band truly get their act together in the recording studio in this manner. 

Liberty With Wings

This absolutely soars from the moment the band kicks into gear. The ubiquitous U2 influence is there for all to see in a straight ahead rock fashion but of course it is the jazz-inflected coda that always sets hearts a-fluttering with surprise and delight.


I have had certain reservations about this song from the first time I heard it at Deafcon 5. It is an ambitious track no doubt with an attempt at the “call and response” motif popularized by emo punk bands – which still doesn’t quite work (personally, I would have simulated the crowd response but hey, it’s not my recording so…). The chorus is a gem though with Mark John helping Inch out with cool harmonies.


Ahhhh. This is a gorgeous song and is almost perfect in every way. It moves from an alt-rocker to a pseudo-gospel chorus and even incorporates a Beatles meets the Who bridge, which is literally breath-taking. It is a magnificent achievement for a band this young! Inch has never sounded better – showing the full range of her vocal abilities – spine tingling… perfecto!


Finally, a version of Closure that does justice to its potential. How does a song about a broken relationship end up making one feel so good? The additional nuances – keyboards (!) – really embellishes what is already a powerful sonic statement. I’ve said it time and again – Closure should be on heavy rotation on every radio station in Singapore and beyond! And is that Mark John singing back-up at the end. Priceless.

Well, that’s the EP proper but the band has also added the bonus of fan favourites Limbo and Ladeda. Both tracks reveal the band in early flower – energetic and forceful – but with hooks galore. It’s hard to believe how far this band has come in such a short time but these songs almost sound quaint and nostalgic. This is an essential CD not just for fans of Singapore music but for anyone who appreciates first-rate melodic alt-rock. And yeah … still there’s more… 




May 182008

Believe me when I say that the Fire Fight work hard at doing what they do best. Touching souls and lives with not only their music but also with themselves. Last night at the Rock on Myanmar gig at Fort Gate, the Fire Fight viz. Josh, Jon, JBark, Iain and Chris gave the crowd a rollicking good time moving hearts, minds and feet as the band threw out nuggets of inspiration and grace. Candala, When Spring Comes Home, Fires at Night, Beware Monster, People and Spaces and the Train Song –  the kids knew the words by memory and greeted every nuance with unbridled enthusiasm. 

Though the sweltering heat on stage was taking its toll on the boys – especially Iain who was panting at the end of each song – the energy levels never wavered and the band gave of their best. Josh, as usual, was all about connection – engaging the audience constantly and even jumping into the crowd to dance along with them during the Train Song. If it was someone else, it may come across as a contrived gimmick but with Josh you know it’s a honest gesture. At the end of the gig, the band spent time with the fans – reaching out to embrace their followers, being accessible and down-to-earth. Like I said, believe me when I say that the Fire Fight work hard to deserve the acclaim and support they are garnering.

Isn’t it any wonder that with the Fire Fight, I see the future of S-ROCK…

As for the other performers, Allura only managed a very short acoustic set (Mark John was unavailable) over which Inch proved that she is maturing fast as a singer as well as a front person. I detect a professionalism not present before. Her renditions of Closure and Ladeda were spine-tingling. The sky’s the limit for Allura. The mainstream will gobble them up – mark my words!

Cardinal Avenue has all the elements right – sound and instrumentation, though song-craft might need refinement whilst Stellastory have a good singer and lead guitarist which will put them in a strong position as they develop their song and performances.

All told, the gig was a success and sets the tone for the other charity gigs in the pipeline. Kudos to Leanne and her team for a job very well done!

… and there’s more …


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May 172008

VARIOUS ARTISTS Ballyhoo!!! (Music For Good/Aging Youth)

Just in case you’re wondering, the Ballyhoo is the poor fish being gobbled up by the pelican (?) on the cover so I hope that’s not a metaphor about the S-ROCK scene. Hmm.

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