Asian pop: Better Life

Taiwanese pop rock band F.I.R. comprising (from left) Real Huang, Faye Chan and Ian Chen.

Taiwanese poprock trio F.I.R. mark their 10th anniversary together with this, their seventh album.

Better Life does not sound like them at first - and that is a good thing.

Route 7 sounds fresher and more folksy than their signature slick style. You can almost feel the breeze in your hair when vocalist Faye Chan sings the opening lines: "Drive the car on the road/When I turn on the radio."

They are headed in the right direction with this new turn and It's You is another charmer.

Chan croons tenderly in the chorus: "It's you, who make the tears melt, make me put down my recklessness, weave the future, our threads, into a painting."

While previous albums offered fantasy and escape with tracks such as Atlantis, Arctic Circle and Fly Away, Better Life is more rooted in human relationships.

The title track is an upbeat number about love and friendship, while I Remember is wistfully nostalgic.

The band try to cover all bases, though, with the more familiar pop-rock of The Ocean Fighter.

They even venture into dubstep with Light Up The Way, but that only feels like a bit of a mis-step.


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