Pension State - Yesterdays Make Your Tomorrows
Album Review written by yun
(Published by 29 Cornflake Records & PensionState 2004)
You have to hand it to these guys man. In a country where local music is given virtually no media support, where bands gather and dissipate like fickle seasons of the weather, Pension State has survived its 7th year together. And, make no mistake about it; they’re still going strong, much to their fans’ delight.
Defying all odds, be it financial constraint, national service, college (members were ‘split’ geographically because of educational pursuits), these four lads have managed to put out their debut album, an EP consisting five rocking tracks. For a local outfit, they’re certainly considered very accessible, and if I might use the cliché term, easy listening. The opening song, "A Moment Again", an infectious, punk-inspired melody accompanied with feel-good lyrics, is a great one to blast in the car (well, only if you drive). Humming along with the chorus as you speed down the highways, it’s guaranteed to light up your day and bring a smile to your face when you’re feeling down. My personal favourite, however, is "Ordinary 21", the band’s ode to National Servicemen. Despite sounding a tad too Blink 182-ish, it’s a song that really reaches deep into the hearts of all budding men in uniform. I can already imagine my brother counting down the days to his ORD, and doing exactly what the lyrics depict when the big day finally arrives, "We’re gonna sleep in late/ Gate crash all the shows/ All that we’ve missed in 2½ years... Chat up the girls at the varsity/ Feels good being free". Oh Pension State, I think you might have just created a new sing-along theme for our army boys, to give them some cheer in their darkest days of sweat and tears!
On the whole, there’s really nothing much to dislike about this album. And if you have had a chance to see these guys at their gigs, you’ll know that they’re not only equipped with the technical skills, but also much showmanship (especially vocalist Ahtan and bassist Ted, who are both amazingly energetic on stage). If I were to pinpoint their only misstep: it would be that listening to their five songs back to back, they sound too ‘rojak’. In fact, it’s hard to fit Pension State into any genre, because one minute, they’re doing punk, then on tracks like "Paran", they take the route of hard rock, laced with tinges of nu-metal. The most obvious example of ‘rojakness’ comes in the last song, "Beside Me". It starts off sounding all pop and fun, then towards the end, to my big surprise, growling death metal-like voices suddenly come floating out in the background!