Subtitled the Best of the Oddfellows (For Now), Up in the Clouds is the long-awaited appearance of the Oddfellows’ music on streaming platforms. The Singapore indie rockers – which formed around singer-songwriter Patrick Chng – first came to prominence in the local music scene 40 years ago, with its debut album, Teenage Head.
Up in the Clouds features tracks from that well-received debut, sophomore effort Carnival, various film soundtrack albums and other odds and sods. The retrospective compilation does an excellent job in encapsulating the Oddfellows’ appeal viz. contagious melodies, jangly / crunchy guitars and pummelling drums – a fine distillation of 90s pop-rock, carried on the backs of the influences of R.E.M. and the Replacements.
Personally, of course, Patrick Chng and the Oddfellows were instrumental in jump-starting my return to music making in the late 80s. The Oddfellows (then with Stephen Tan on bass and Casey Soo on drums) were featured by Chris Ho in the national papers it certainly opened my eyes to the possibilities of the local music scene even as a 28 year old.
So yes, Up in the Clouds is hugely nostalgic (and sentimental) for those of us who lived through the Singapore pop revival of the 1990s and revered Patrick Chng and the Oddfellows as leading this new wave that caught the attention of the youth of that era. Every single song on this compilation turns me misty-eyed in remembrance of a very special time in Singapore pop music history.
Though Singaporeans are not known for their love for local music – not since the 1970s in any case – hopefully this timely compilation will provide the curious minority the opportunity to experience and savour classic Singapore rock from 30 odd years ago. The fact that the music itself sounds as fresh as it did when it first saw light of day surely recommends itself without too much prompting.
… still there’s more …