Analog Girl / The Konki Duet / The Lovers (Esplanade, 3 March 2006)

It was pretty shocking how badly attended the 2 gigs we attended at the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival were. I guess in a two month period where Franz Ferdinand, Oasis and Kings of Convenience were performing here, most local “indie” music fans chose to spend their money there instead. I’m not saying it’s wrong to like those bands, and when I was 14 I’d probably have been ecstatic about such gigs, but I do wish people in Singapore were a little more willing to take a chance on something less established or radio-friendly. Call me a bleeding heart if you like but it always really upsets me to see a good band performing to an embarrassingly empty room.

Having said that, my heart remained resolutely unbloodied during Analog Girl’s performance, if one could even call it that. I’m having difficulty writing about this because I don’t want to be needlessly unkind about someone who is trying to do something different, even if I don’t personally think she succeeds at all. Let me just say that as someone who has a fairly high threshhold for abstract noodly electronica (anyone here like Fennesz?), I was bored stiff by the music, and watching her essentially press buttons on devices for half an hour didn’t exactly make for compelling viewing either. There’s more I could say, but let’s leave it at that.

The Konki Duet are three girls who make pretty, slightly melancholic, chamber pop with two of the girls harmonizing over a guitar, dinky keyboard, violin and occasional trumpet. It’s a simple setup, but what they achieve with it is a good reminder that you don’t always need an Elephant Six-esque panoply of obscure instruments to make interesting indie pop. They’re a little raw – they were sometimes out of time with each other, and the violin is far too obtrusive in the mix – but they have a lovely little collection of songs which managed to have a distinct identity and style about them without all sounding the same. I enjoyed them far more than I’d expected to, and although they do need a little more polish at the moment, I think they deserve to do well with this in time to come.

If you’re a stark raving Francophile you might love The Lovers. They started their gig with the “I’m French! Why do you theenk I havv zis outrrragyuss akksent?” sound clip from Monty Python’s The Holy Grail and sang a number of impish bossa nova songs about French grammar genders and French wine and French kisses and…you get the drift. All this shtick would put them firmly in novelty band territory for me if not for their rather charming stage persona. I’m not sure if it’s part of their act or if they’re genuinely besotted with one another, but I found myself buying into their affectionate, coquettish chemistry. Sometimes it’s nice to watch a gig where the performers hold each other closely and exchange seductive looks. It’s certainly a change from shoegazing.

(Review of the 2nd gig forthcoming in a future post.)


  1. Arthur, ROTFL! Nah, it’s just that all Macs hate me.

    Tangent: The other day a colleague was talking about annual cargo volumes and I thought he said anal cargo volumes.

  2. Hey Michelle, spot on with the review. I was actually looking forward to the Analog Girl set, having arrived too late the last time she played at HOME, but felt a bit let down. Somehow it wasn’t too engaging, and while the music was ooookaaay, it didn’t really get me in the right way.

    I thought the violin added a lot to the Konki Duet’s sound actually, but as you said, they’re still in a bit of a developing phase. I’d really like to hear how they grow over time. The Lovers were a right laugh weren’t they; French lesson on wheels! I think I’ve been to so many gigs where people like really earnest, so it was good to see some clowning around. Plus heck, I’m a sucker for that sort of cheezoid Frog music.

    Actually I’m quite surprised that Konki Duet and The Lovers were brought in; I hadn’t actually heard of either band before this, but they were pretty good discoveries for me. I felt a bit sorry that there was a rather poor turnout.

  3. For God’s sake Enid Coleslaw, when will you ever say hello??!! :) At future events I shall loudly say bizarre offensive things involving one “Enid Coleslaw”, then look around to see who reacts.

    I like the violin in Konki Duet’s sound too, but just found it way too loud in the mix. Though of course, it might have been a problem specific to just this performance. My problem was that being a violinist myself I’m extra sensitive to bum notes – they make my hair stand, and it’s even worse when they’re so amplified. This is not to say that she was bad, she’s decent. It’s just that stuff can still go wonky for a decent violinist, and it still sounds bad when that happens. (Unsurprisingly enough, I used to suffer terribly hearing myself play! Goose pimples everywhere and not in a good way.)

    Yup, I’d never heard of the two foreign bands either. I was pretty impressed at the curators/organizers for being willing to bring in such unknowns, presumably on their own judgment of these bands’ merit. But again, pity about the lack of support. They should’ve promoted the gig by pretending Pitchfork had given the bands 9.7 reviews. :P

  4. Hmm, that just might work! I’m quite surprised that Kings of Convenience sold out their gig…on one hand I think it’s a good sign that more people are venturing beyond the dictates of 98.7 (actually who listens to it anymore? People my age I know [a hoary 27, that is] either listen to [gulp!] Class 95 or avoid radio completely). I don’t loathe Kings of Convenience, but I have one Hokkien word for them and their ilk: ‘nua’.

  5. Haha, “nua” is good! I don’t loathe them either but my English equivalent, rhyming even!, is “blah”. All power to KoC if they can sell out the Esplanade though. I’m just really disconnected from the general taste of the local indie crowd so it’s not an excitement I can share with them.

    I think quite a lot of people my age listen to that newish chillouty radio station, but I haven’t a clue what it’s called. As you might be aware I do actually love a lot of pop so I’m fine in principle with 98.7, it’s just their “radio personalities” I can’t stand.

    Do let me know if I’m gonna have to yell ENID COLESLAW FUCKS DONKEYS at Erlend Oye or Gang Starr, ‘kay? :)

  6. am glad you’d enjoyed the gigs. :) i was the curator for them. yes, shame about the turnout – but i knew we were going to run into trouble, having the Sonic Fringe segment run immediately after ze Franz and Oasis (and the Bangkok Rock Fest), and the fact that folks had bought tix for KoC. and the press did us no favours by *not* picking up on the Fringe. that said, i was keen on bringing in and exposing more leftfield acts that i thought music otakus might love… and i wanted to programme them in such a way that fans of one band might get to learn more and love the other acts featured that night.

    and yes, by the way, Marion and Fred of The Lovers are married. and very much in love. they are très cool, schweet and hilarious. :)

    keep a lookout for 07’s Fringe then. thanks for the support. i promise you there’ll be a kickass lineup again next year. x-m

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