Tag Archives: Twee


Bread & Circuses is the name of the new EP from Philippine band Camerawalls. Those of you who caught the band at this year’s Baybeats Festival would be familiar with its pleasing evocation of 80s twee/jangle post-punk reminiscent of The Smiths, Orange Juice, Felt, Belle and Sebastian etc. Well, I have just received the EP from band leader Clementine and fans of good old fashioned melodic pop-rock will absolutely love the gorgeous music of the Camerawalls. Review to come…

Official Site


Belle & Sebastian Sing About Love

Several pointers to take into consideration when heading for a Belle & Sebastian gig:

Put on your best tapping and/or dancing shoes.

Bring on a light-hearted spirit of musical bliss.

Practice swaying of the hips from the left to the right. Repeat in continuous movements.

While you are at it, time your claps too. 1,2,3,4…

When one has last minute tickets offered for purchase, just whack and go without taking much into consideration, even if you’re going with complete strangers (worry about it later, face the music first).

So that was how my start of the Belle & Sebastian gig went, but I think for most of the others at the concert that night, they were pretty much more ordinary and sane.



THE RADIO DEPT. Clinging to a Scheme (Labrador)

For fans of classic post-punk and beyond, Swedish band The Radio Dept. is an absolute treat. Combining indie twee pop with electronic sensibilities, The Radio Dept. has produced delightfully melodic pop slabs of mood and atmosphere – a potent mix!

On this, the band’s third album, the hybrid process has been honed to a fine art. The pulsating synths and chiming guitars manage to strike a fine balance to create something unique. The beats are never too intrusive and exist to serve the tunes and yet they are an entity unto themselves nonetheless.

For most of Clinging to a Scheme, The Radio Dept. can do no wrong, pulling out miraculous melodies and irresistible rhythms on mesmerizing tracks like the gleaming Domestic Scene, the slinky Heaven’s On Fire, the dynamic New Order-channeling This Time Around, the throbbing Never Follow Suit, the dreamy Token of Gratitude, the incisive The Video Dept., the thoughtful Memory Loss, the noisy OMD-referencing Four Months in the Shade and the plaintively atmospheric You Stopped Making Sense.

Yes, I realize that I’ve listed practically the entire album but that’s a simple measure of how great Clinging to a Scheme is. A delight in every sense of the word. Only thing left for me to say is that it will definitely be one of the finest albums you will listen to this year. Essential!

Oh, and of course, The Radio Dept. will be playing in Singapore on 7th April. Details TBA.

Official Site



IT’S A KING THING Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo (Self-released)

I must admit what caught the eye about It’s A King Thing was the list of references they cited – the first 2 Weezer albums, The Lemonheads, Nada Surf, Ben Kweller, Superdrag, The Shins, Guided By Voices – right?!

But honestly, It’s A King Thing really comes across like a quirky, anti-folk version of Weezer. There is not an ounce of “rock” in these charming songs, in fact, much of Buffalo is rather twee, if I may say so, and evokes memories of mid-80s Scottish pop bands.

So just imagine if Rivers Cuomo collaborated with Kimya Dawson, and you might get an inkling of what It’s A King Thing is trying to achieve.

Check out the video for Tammy Faye below.

It’s a King Thing – Tammy Faye from It’s a King Thing on Vimeo.

Official Site



BROOKVILLE Broken Lights (Unfiltered)

Let’s play six degrees of separation, shall we? Let’s see, Brookville’s main man is Andy Chase. Chase and Adam Schlesinger are both in Ivy. Then, Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood form the nucleus of Fountains of Wayne. Of course, Chris and I played at Baybeats together in August! 5 degrees!

Pardon my self-indulgence but I always need to keep things interesting when reviewing CDs. Fact is, I’ve been criminally negligent in taking so long in reviewing Broken Lights as it is a sumptous album that every serious Pop enthusiast will thrill to. Think of Broken Lights as a loving paean to all things British indie twee pop married with muscular melodicism of 80s blue-eyed soul-pop. A perfect combination, believe me!

Did I just say, soulful and twee? Yep! Sure, Chase and co never quicken the pace too much but this album contains enough jazz-inflected, soft-pop channeling R&B nuggets that bridges both sides of the Atlantic to make this appealing to the US pop underground and the British indie dance scene.

From start to finish, the songs are immaculate as Chase creates his own world of Rhodes keyboards, spidery fretplay, Spectoresque percussion and breathy vocals, which will easily transport the unsuspecting listener to bliss. Highly recommended.


Watch the music video for Great Mistake below.



POSTBOX Self-titled EP (Big Ear Musica)

S-ROCK band Postbox is fairly new on the scene and is an outfit that has left me scratching my head on a few occasions. The first time I saw them live was a Home Club and was distinctly unimpressed with their mundane shoegaze-emo-Paramore approximation. However, before I saw them again at Rock the Sub ’09, I was informed by a reliable source that Postbox is one of the better young S-ROCK bands out there. So I was hugely disappointed with their acoustic show – which sounded very twee – and they came across lacklustre with a vocalist that was painfully out of tune.

Glad to report that their debut EP does hint at a promise of musicality and melodicism, with singer Samantha an accomplished performer. Still, there is a bad case of split personality where Postbox do try to indulge in polar approaches of twee pop and emo-shoegaze. Personally, the band works really well with the former and fans of Camera Obscura and 80s British indie will positively thrill to songs like I Want Discopop!, Miss Sunshine and Arts House. I see an entire career based on the potential of these wonderful, sunshine tracks. Definitely, a band to watch (if they can solve the puzzle of their live performances) – it should be interesting!

Check out Postbox’s Myspace page.



CAMERA OBSCURA My Maudlin Career (4AD)

Fans of this amazing Scottish band (and there are a handful that I personally know) can finally rejoice – their fourth and latest album My Maudlin Career was officially released last week. I’m fairly new to this brand of indie pop and was admittedly swept long with the tide of success from their pivotal previous album, Let’s Get Out of This Country (2006).

Having immersed myself in their warm and at times upbeat latest offering, I must confess that although it’s not a far stretch from their previous album, it does strongly charter a bolder presence lyrically and melodically. Even with a switch in their record label, the band wisely chose to work again with Swedish producer Jari Haapalainen (The Concretes, Peter, Björn & John). Probably attributing to some of the tracks being reminiscent of the previous album.

However the key element amidst Haapalainen’s masterful touch of layering the keyboards, horns and being very liberal with the saturation of echoes, is Tracyanne Campbell’s vocals. The band has been celebrated for connecting with its audience on a very personal level and this is largely due to Campbell’s ability to draw you into her world with her vulnerable, wistful voice and her first person narrative of situations, incidents, going as far as walking you through the stages of decisions made.

The album opens with its perky first single, French Navy, complete with hooks of string and horn arrangements. This is strongly followed by the harmonious The Sweetest Thing with Campbell sounding almost like Dusty Springfield as she sings “I’m going on a date tonight, to try to fall out of love with you..”. One can safely assume that the lyrical stance taken on all the tracks is one of a very personal nature. From start to finish, I found myself relating very strongly to Campbell’s dischanted/sensitive view of relationships and the manner in which they were conveyed. Not succumbing to the deluge of melancholy that might have easily been the album’s selling point, Camera Obsura instead builds a connection that eventually validates our voyeuristic tendencies and keeps it in check with Campbell’s sarcasm and wit in her lyrics.

My favourite tracks of the album are Away with Murder which begins with muffled drums and haunting keyboards. The very ballady and catchy James, which speaks of ex-partners missing the connection shared but dealing with the choices made – reminiscent of one of their earlier songs aptly titled, The Last Song. The title track My Maudlin Career opens with a beautiful early sixties feel to it and keeps it going with the help of raindrop-like notes from the keyboard and early Clapton-esque guitar style towards the end. The rest of the tracks have a pleasant Cowboy Junkies type aura to them save for the last track of the album Honey In the Sun which comes full circle, ending things perfectly with the same pace as the first track.

All in all this 11 track album moves at a pace much slower than the band’s previous one but what it sets the tone from the start so there aren’t any unpleasant surprises. Dare I say it, My Maudlin Career is fuller and richer and simmers with the maturity that can only come from a band that knows its audience.

(Charlotte Lourdes)

Check out their Myspace page



ALLIGATORS Piggy & Cups (Applehouse Records)

This five piece band from Seattle is anything but grungy. Saccharine and dreamy, indie pop is what they’re all about. Probably a tad too sweet for my taste but props has to be given to these guys for coming up with a clean, marketable album. And by clean, I mean catchy hooks, vocals that exude lyrics one can easily decipher and a neat arrangement on every track that enables you to visually picture each instrument on its own. Nicely done.

This debut album was recorded at Death Cab for Cutie’s Jason McGerr’s studio and at the band’s residence. All 11 tracks on the album mix it up and refrain from sticking to a particular formula with regards to key changes and unexpected falsetto anguish. Influenced by Radiohead and The Beach Boys among others, it’s the Radiohead influence that comes through with the opening guitar riffs on a couple of the tracks on this album. The stand out track for most has been “If you want to”, although I wasn’t too taken by it as much as I was with their opening track “Where does it hide”. The latter reminded me of one of the many themes of TV shows from the early 80’s, before it steps into a darker level and then nicely grooves into a modern jazz layer, complete with a hypnotic bass in the background.

Kristian Arper and the boys explore various styles on this one album, even within a single track. Ambitious but does it pay off? Considering it’s a crisp, melodic pop offering, it certainly does.

Check out Alligators’ Myspace page.