Album Reviews, 特别报道:

Dear Eloise 亲爱的艾洛伊丝 Beauty In Strangers

April 25th, 2013 by

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(Read in English below)

亲爱的艾洛伊丝Dear Eloise)应该了解关于音乐的一或两件事。该北京后摇滚组合是由丈夫杨海崧和妻子孙霞组成。杨海崧是北京著名的后朋克乐队P.K. 14的乐队领唱,孙霞是同一乐队的前贝斯手。自从1997年左右,他们一直是P.K.14的成员,几乎是中国摇滚乐坛的鼻祖。

亲爱的艾洛伊丝Dear Eloise)是杨和孙分支乐队的一部分,充满杨的吉他演奏和孙声乐演奏。但在某种意义上来说,它是一个非常神秘的分支乐队,考虑到他们并没有现场表演和发行过他们的专辑,有些不显眼。2011年他们发行了第一张专辑燃烧的文字The Words That Burnt)。陌生人的美Beauty in Stranger)是他们的第二个专辑。

总体而言,陌生人的美Beauty in Strangers)是一个模糊的、噪音流行音乐专辑。给人一种深思熟虑的低保感觉,就像在家以一个有趣的DIY(自己动手)方式来录制并掌控。在大多数的歌曲中,孙的细腻而短促的声音飘来飘去,与吉它和打击乐器形成的声墙撞击。基本上,这是在嘈杂背景中以很好方式表达出的优良声乐。

专辑陌生人的美Beauty in Stranger) 中有很多演绎地比较好的歌曲,其歌词并没有被背景中的嘈杂音淹没,而且他们之间传递着一些情感,像出色的歌曲“Song For Her”(送给她的歌),这首歌具有鲜明的旋律,强烈的歌词,明确的吉他伴奏覆盖背景中无人掌控的优质声音。这好像是每一声线都完美地结合在一起。“送给她的歌”(Song For Her)的声线和感觉很像Velvet Underground乐队的第一张专辑。另一首歌曲“秘密生活”(Secret Life)则更阴暗、神秘,带有扣人心弦的吉他音,这与目前P.K. 14所做的歌曲很相似也是很容易理解的。在其他的歌曲方面,如“太自我”(Too Much Ego),其旋律其实相当甜美,并在Dear Eloise作品中表达出天真无邪的意思。

但是,除了他们最好的歌曲,其它歌曲有时声音太大、太乱、太脱节。唱片中出现的反馈和混响有时会造成困扰。少量的噪音还行,还为歌曲增添了一些其它层次上的东西;但大量的噪音会让人很讨厌。该专辑中有一些分层却很悠闲的声音,这些声音对于一些乐曲来说锦上添花,但对于别的乐曲却并非如此。

也有几个乐曲似乎可以融入彼此(“蝴蝶小姐” (Miss Butterfly)、“第三种颜色”(The Third Colour)、 “她从未”(She Never)),但是这并不是有意而为之——这只是因为这些噪音不够大,不足以影响到整个歌曲。从某种意义上说,这是陌生人的美(Beauty in Strangers)的最大的缺点——它美丽却很单调,没有其第一张专辑中显示出的独树一帜的特色。

话虽如此,我还是很喜欢该唱片。这是一个让人慢慢体会的唱片,并有足够好的歌曲保持其有吸引力。第一次听时,您可能会认为“无聊”;第二次时,您可能会说,“还好啦”;当您第三次听时,您会觉得“里面的一些东西真得特别好”。但不幸的是,只是其中的一些东西。

Dear Eloise should know a thing or two about music. This post-rock duo from Beijing is composed of husband and wife team Yang Hai Song and Sun Xia. That’s Yang Hai Song, the front man of Beijing’s popular post-punk band P.K. 14, and Sun Xia, the former bassist of the same band. And being as how P.K. 14 has been around since 1997, they’re practically grandparents in the China rock scene.

Dear Eloise is a bit of a side project for Yang and Sun, featuring Yang on guitars and Sun’s vocals. But it’s a very mysterious side project in a way, considering they don’t perform live and released both of their albums somewhat inconspicuously. Their first album, The Words That Burnt, was release in 2011. Beauty in Strangers (2012) is their second.

Overall, Beauty in Strangers is a fuzzy, noise-pop album. It has a deliberate, lo-fi feeling about it, as if it was recorded and mastered at home, in an interesting DIY sort of way. For most of the songs, Sun’s delicate and ephemeral vocals come and go, competing with the wall of sound from the guitars and percussion. Basically, it’s nice vocals over a noisy background, in a good way.

The songs that work best on Beauty in Strangers are the songs where the lyrics aren’t drowned out by everything going on in the background and there’s some emotion around them, like the standout “Song For Her,” a song with a distinctive melody, strong lyrics, and definite guitar riffs over a nice drone of sound in the back. It’s as if every layer has come together perfectly. The sound and feeling of “Song For Her” is very reminiscent of the Velvet Underground’s first album. Another song, “Secret Life,” is darker and more mysterious, with a catchy guitar hook, understandably similar to what P.K. 14 currently does. In other songs, like “Too Much Ego,” the melodies are actually quite sweet and show off an innocence in Dear Eloise’s work.

But with the exception of their best songs, sometimes it’s just too loud, too messy and too disjointed. The feedback and reverb that seems to be a signature on this record is distracting at times. In small doses it’s good and adds another layer to what’s going on; in large doses it’s off-putting. The album has a layered but laid-back sound, which works brilliantly on some tracks and not so much on others.

There are also several tracks that seem to blend into one another (“Miss Butterfly,” “The Third Colour,” “She Never”) but this hasn’t been done purposefully—it’s only because they’re not distinct enough to stand on their own. In a way, this is Beauty in Strangers’ greatest fault—it’s beautiful but monotonous, and it doesn’t stand up to the ability that was shown in their first album.

That being said, I still like the record. It’s one that grows on you, and there are enough good songs to keep it interesting. On the first listen you may think, “meh.” The second time around you’ll probably say, “This is okay,” and by the time you hear it a third time you’ll think, “Some of this stuff is pretty damn good.” But unfortunately, it’s only some of that stuff.


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