Loud releases: Four music reviews

In A Perfect World - Kodaline

When a relatively unknown band releases a debut album to much fanfare and acclaim, it could be two things.

One, they are undoubtedly extraordinary. Two, they remind you of a band you already love.

With Dublin-based Irish alternative rock band Kodaline, it's very much the latter.

This quartet have pretty much perfected the successful Coldplay formula - anthemic power choruses, gripping hooks and heartrending songs.

The signature Coldplay-like hooks are especially striking in Love Like This, All I Want, All Comes Down and Talk.

If it's novelty you're looking for, you will hardly find it here.

But the album's such an earnest effort that it should tug at the heartstrings of even the hardest of hearts.

Format: CD, vinyl, digital download

- Noor Ashikin Abdul Rahman

Romantic Spring - Ga-In & Hyung Wo

Most of you know K-pop singer Ga-In for her eyeball-grabbing cameo appearance in Psy's music video for Gentleman.

Others know her as part of girl quartet Brown Eyed Girls.

If you happen to be a die-hard fan, you'd probably know that she released a solo mini-album, Talk About S, last November, that set tongues wagging over its erotic lyrics and Ga-In's sexed up image.

This sultry 25-year-old is simply unstoppable. In this brand new EP effort, Romantic Spring, she pairs up with Loen Entertainment label mate and rookie singer Cho Hyung Woo on four whimsical, acoustic numbers that showcase her airy, high-pitched voice.

2 O' Clock Date is a cute bubblegum tune, while Sway is the duo's gung-ho attempt at the samba style. My favourite though, is the breezy, catchy Let Me In, where Ga-In and Cho's voices blend perfectly.

K-pop has never been this sweet.

Format: CD, Digital

- Tan Kee Yun

The Sun Comes Out Tonight - Filter

Judging by the positive response towards Nine Inch Nails' recent comeback and the new release of Filter's sixth studio album, The Sun Comes Out Tonight, industrial rock definitely seems to be on the resurgence.

Ohio's industrial rock veterans Filter's signature sound - crunching distorted guitars and pulsating bass beats - is even more powerful on this album.

They are best known for their brooding 90s hit single Hey Man, Nice Shot.

Self-Inflicted, which opens with frontman Richard Patrick's intense screams, is an adrenaline-pumping ride from start to finish.

I also like the raging choruses in What Do You Say and It's Got To Be Right Now, and the cool, sexy electronic effects in We Hate It When You Get What You Want.

If this is the future of industrial rock in the new decade, I'm digging it.

Format: CD, Digital

- Tan Kee Yun

Sensitive Person - Li Daimo

Chinese crooner Li Daimo might not be much of a poster boy with his average looks and bald head, but boy, does he impress the minute he opens his mouth to sing.

The 25-year-old Heilongjiang native emerged the champion of China's top reality singing competition, The Voice of China Season 1, last year, beating out more flamboyant contestants like runner-up Momo Wu.

For those who missed his winning performances on the hit show, Sensitive Person, Li's debut album of originals is a great introduction to his versatile vocals.

Sounding like a manlier version of Taiwan's Aska Yang, Li is a joy to listen to, whether on upbeat anthems like Instant Guest and In My Bones, or pensive ballads such as Hurt and The Mute Who Can Speak.

With The Voice of China Season II heating up TV screens on the mainland now, it remains to be seen if the new champ-to-be can outdo Li in the vocals department.

Format: CD

- Tan Kee Yun


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