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Album Review

The Moderates - Keeping Up Appearances The Moderates - Keeping Up Appearances

Album Review written by yun

If you need proof that Singapore can produce punk music just as great as the West, Keeping Up Appearances by The Moderates would have to be one album marked under: body of evidence.

Released independently in 2000 by the band, this collection of 18 original tracks infuses good old punk rock with witty, humorous lyrics (check out the sarcastic interlude “sixtysix.six fm” and the quirky “Sex, Lies & CHIJ Girls”, the latter an obvious dig at a certain local girl’s school), solid musicianship and most importantly, a raw energy and ferocity that is sad to say, sorely lacking in most of the made-for-MTV bands these days. You know, the ‘good charlottes’, ‘simple plans’ and fellas who like being ‘busted’. After a while, they sound pretty much the same and the stuff they churn out – too synthetic and lifeless.

Of course, there are areas that Keeping Up Appearances could have been better. Although The Moderates score on intensity, vocals-wise, it certainly isn’t the quartet’s strength. In fact, on several tracks, I couldn’t catch what the singer was singing, as his thin voice was much overpowered by the slashing guitars, thumping bass lines and drums. But, credit must be given for their smooth harmonization that worked impressively on songs like “Same ‘Ol Same ‘Ol” and “The Scarlet Letter”, and also for getting a guest female vocalist to duet on a couple of tracks, which gave the songs a fresh perspective.

Overall, The Moderates excel best when they don’t take themselves too seriously. Must-listens include “Lovepit”, “Ecstasy” and “Anthem for the Assholes”; these guys sound like they’re having loads of fun whacking out these tunes in the studio! Good for them, cos’ that’s when they sound really on top.

When the vocalist starts “Anthem for the Assholes” – “Tonight, girlfriend, sex is always on my mind/Tonight, girlfriend, shivering till I die” – in that unperturbed, deadpan drawl of his, I couldn’t help but grin. How can you not love a band so honest like this?
 
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