Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cheating Sons - Cheating Sons

In our tireless search for good sounds in popular music, we find ourselves in Singapore, grooving on the self-titled album from Cheating Sounds.  Roots rock, blues, and a touch of country twang blend together in a spicy helping of musical comfort food.  The band draws on additional performers for strings, horns and additional percussion, and secured the production services of Los Angeles-based Manny Nieto for Cheating Sounds, who was flown into Singapore over the course of two years to help shape this self-funded labor of love.

Cheating Sons follows the band's previous LP by four years, but care, dedication and sacrifice is evident in the quality of the result.  The songs benefit from an intricacy of structure and precision in performance all too rare in popular music.  Perhaps I'm a pushover, but for the most part I was sold on the album by the opening track, "Courage, Courage", which I played several times before continuing.  Each succeeding song increased my appreciation until the penultimate offering of Roy Orbison-style wonderfulness, "Honeymoon".  At that point there could be no doubt.  I pulled on my boots, stood up and sang along (my apologies to my wife; my apologies to my dog).  What a lovely album!

If I have the players right, Cheating Sons are Lazarus Wang Renyi (vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica, lyricist), Leong Chee Shan (lead guitar), Donovan Loh (bass, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, lap steel and slide guitar) and Andy Liew (drums and percussion).  Additional contributions were made by Teoh Ying Da (trumpet), Joel Lee (sax), Joy Loh (violin), Kaitlin Wolfberg (violin), Natalie Soh (violin), Koh Zhong Ren (cello), Kevin Mthews (piano & keys), Fredo Ortiz (percussion), Rachael Teo (backing vocals), Narelle Kheng (backing vocals), Lee Yinqi (backing vocals), and Tok Xue Yi (backing vocals).


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