Serenaide + White Shoes and The Couples Company @ Mosaic Music Festival, 16 March 2013
It was the 9th and second last day of the Mosaic Music Festival on Saturday, and there were two acts whom I was looking forward to seeing. The first was local indie pop band Serenaide. Formed in 1998, they released their debut full-length The Other End of the Receiver in 2005. It was a collection of ten jangly, wistful love songs and spawned their biggest hit “The Girl From Katong.” Apart from the occasional show they’ve laid low in recent years and their Mosaic performance was a much-anticipated rare appearance.
The band played a mix of old and new songs during their two sets including the mournful “Lonely Bedroom Encounters”, hard-hitting “1900-Confession”, and the Morrissey-inspired “The Hands of The Doctor.” My favourite was “The Sweetest”, a lovely bittersweet number reminiscent of The Cure, which frontman Pheyroz Yusuf said was the first song he wrote for the album. The aching “Would You Like To Hear It Too?” was another highlight with its romantic lyrics, the crashing drums lending urgency to its haziness. After thanking the audience for coming, the band ended their second set with their eponymous single. As they launched into the dreamy swirl of “The Girl From Katong”, I couldn’t help but smile and bop gently along.
Serenaide have very nicely made their album available for download on bandcamp. It’s free or pay-what-you want so if you haven’t heard it, head over now and treat your ears to a slice of local indie.
The second band was retro pop act White Shoes and The Couples Company who hail from Indonesia. Intrigued by their name, I did a search and discovered that they’ve played at Austin’s SXSW and Amoeba Records in San Francisco, and are signed to Minty Fresh in the US. I was impressed and heartened to see bands in this corner of the world gaining exposure overseas and it makes me proud to be a fellow Asian. The band were decked out stylishly in pretty print dresses, collared shirts and slim fit pants, and true to their name they were all wearing white shoes. Makes you wonder how they manage to keep them clean on the road.
There was a considerable crowd for their second set with many Indonesians in attendance to show support. While their first set comprised mainly slow ballads, their second was marked by fast, upbeat tunes. The band had warmed up by then and sounded tighter and more confident. Lead singer Sari mesmerized with her beautiful soulful voice and showed off some funky dance moves, encouraging the crowd to dance and clap along. “Aksi Kucing” was just one of their many effervescent songs with its “meow, meow” refrain in the chorus, complete with cute cat paw moves by the band. I had no idea what they were singing about on their Indonesian songs but it didn’t matter. I came away charmed by their sincere, joyful and heartfelt melodies.