Lisa Go calls her music “quiet rock”. If that’s her idea of “quiet”, her notion of “loud” must be pretty ear-splitting.
Go’s 2000 debut album, Moonbeams, is the second Meg Lee Chin album we’re still waiting for. A mix of buzzing guitars, synthetic drums, electronic effects and Go’s singular wail, Moonbeams creates a wonderful sonic landscape.
In “Waiting Room”, a heavy-handed, growling introduction makes way for a quiet verse. “Kara Kara” seethes with a minimal intensity, untill it bursts into an almost industrial chorus.
Go is a master at texture. There’s not a track on the album that doesn’t make use of a full range of dynamics.
“Ice Candy”, for instance, starts off with an Indian-influenced sample, but not until half-way through the six-minute song does the full band come crashing in.
“Fade Away” starts off with an ominous thump of a reverb-drenched kick drum, then gives away to an oddly lilting rhythm as awkward as it is foreboding.
While Go, a third generation Chinese-Japanese, has written an album of very dramatic, tuenful pieces, only one significant thing interferes with the album’s execution — her English diction.
All the songs on Moonbeams are sung in English, and although Go’s nasal voice is intriguing, her heavy Japanese accent garbles what could have been a brilliant performance.
It takes a few listens to get through Go’s diction and to appreciate the painstakingly crafted music she’s produced.
Once that happens, it’s easy to pick personal favorites.
“Chinese-Made Machine Gun” dives head-long into a Garbage vibe, complete with catchy chorus. “Bed” makes for a terrific conclusion to the album, winding down Go’s frantic music.
Go has since released a number of singles and a second album, Utaime, since recording Moonbeams. Utaime includes songs sung in Japanese.
Moonbeams is definitely a promising start. Looking forward to more of Go’s work will be a treat.