Shane Cao Xuanbin (Ocean Butterflies International)
The name might not be familiar, but the songs would be. China tunesmith Shane Cao is best known for A Pity It's Not You, a 2005 hit for Malaysian singer Fish Leong.
He reclaims the ballad for himself on his debut album as a singer and the sense of heartache and longing here is more acute than in Leong's version.
Another standout is You're Not In Beijing. The sprawling city is the backdrop for a tale of heartache: "Take a spin on the Third Ring Road, 40 something km/ Pass by Changchun Street West, I can only twist my head and close my eyes."
The ballads tend to be stronger than the faster numbers, in which he comes across as trying too hard. Nor am I convinced the album needs two versions of Soul Ain't Stingy and Gentleman Orchid.
Tunes aside, Cao's over-the-top glam rocker-in-space styling does him no favours and even distracts from the material. Letting his music speak for itself is the best way to shine.
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