Radio Malaya Comp CD: The Star Review

The Star
Monday February 6, 2006

Various Artistes
Radio Malaya
(Bodysurf Music)

A DISC compiling the definitive sounds from the Malaysian indie resurgence of the last couple of years? Sure, why not? It’s actually much more exciting than whatever the kitsch reality TV establishments are passing off for quality entertainment these days.

Radio Malaya has a list of celebratory instances. The unveiling of rare recorded material by the now-defunct Sgt Weener Arms (sounding every bit like Malaysia’s reply to Australia’s My Disco with their contribution, Trago) opens the curtains of insight into what could have been for one of the circuit’s most exciting live outfits in recent memory.

Meanwhile, the visceral listening experience of local punk pioneers Carburetor Dung tearing through with their anthem to exasperation, Mari Nyanyi Menjilat, is a big kick, as is Singin’ Songs by Kuala Lumpur funky bunch Kuchalana.

Songs by Ipoh’s unsung indie heroes Muck (Waiting Room), Johor Baru’s exceptional ska/punk combo Plague of Happiness (Skate N Destroy), and underrated Brit-rock inspired quartet Missing Chapter (Something Missing) from the East Coast are easily the highlights, willing repeated listens effortlessly.

On more complicated textures, The Revenge of the Platypus from M.U.Z.E is something else. The band’s six-minute cut is simply jaw-dropping energy, loaded with frenetic rhythm shiftsthis side of the Mars Volta and never short of emotive resonance.

The effect is so jarring it’s an uncontested standout from the softer moments that outweigh this and other headphone bursts like Elisebelle Tears’ The Politburo and Custom Daisy’s Collision Cause, another the notable aural riot.

Elsewhere, the playful jangle of Lucy in the Loo’s Loser Lullaby, Harmacy’s Makes Me Feel, Free Love’s Hey Ho, I Love You! and Bittersweet’s Wicked Rose precede Couple’s Now That I Can See perfectly oft-kilter power-pop ending.

It certainly won’t be played on prime-time radio and it may not represent the cutting edge concepts bursting on the fringe as we speak, but Radio Malaya’s value is that it’s a prized document of the increasingly colourful world Malaysian indie guitar music.

By Izuan Shah

Radio Malaya is available through mail order from Bodysurf Music.
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Joe Kidd


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