But I tend to think of these things as concretely separate from my other interests, and so when something blasts through the divider, I get unreasonably excited.
Couple are a Malaysian power pop quartet whose management posted a comment here a week or so ago. Idly, I wandered over to see what the fuss was about, and was completely taken in by the band, who really have internalized the permanently adolescent bubble gum edge of classic power pop. Like Ail Symudiad, there's something vaguely uncanny about hearing the familiar cadences of power pop in another language, and so "Tentang Kita," (means "About Us") which you can hear here at their myspace page, is sort of like listening to an Asian Eric Carmen impersonator.
THE current indie rock revival/craze going on in the local music circuit notwithstanding, a band with a decidedly more tuneful approach stands poised for a popular breakout. Couple, a pioneering power pop combo released its debut album, Top of the Pop last month, featuring a collection of hummable, sinfully addictive songs.
But the word “debut” may be a little misleading. The band dates back to almost a decade now and have previously released four albums, all recorded on cheap home recording equipment and packaged as CD-Rs sold at live gigs. Referencing the classic pop sounds of The Beach Boys, the Beatles, through to American power pop icons like Big Star and The Posies, the Ipoh-born frontman Aidil Rusli formed Couple with a friend in 1995 and began demo-ing songs together.
What the lo-fi output lacked in sophisticated polish, it paid off in loads of homespun charm and loveable pop.
I confess, I love this stuff. Malaysian pop singers debating the salability of Guided by Voices' Bee Thousand in the current climate: how can you not? They also seem to have a great sense of powerpop history: note the Big Starr-ry spelling on "Be My Gurl."
Here's how they describe themselves;
One of the few true blue power pop bands in the region, Couple has been plying its trade for about 10 years now, dedicating itself to remind people of the virtues and magic of 'the song', and the power of the pop!! Taking cues from bands like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Big Star, The Who, The Raspberries, The Beat, The Rooks, Enuff Znuff and Weezer, Couple has kept on doing what they do best and hope to put a smile (and hopefully a headbang or toe-tap or two) on all youse guys' faces. But, making you wet your pants will make us equally happy too!!
Relying solely, and foolishly, on the dodgy songcraft of our dodgy and lame frontman, Aidil, Couple has continued to defy the odds as none of us can play our instruments competently to save our lives, hoping to inspire similarly incompetent kids to just form their own bands and stick it to the Man!! Our live shows are textbook examples of the triumph of substance over style, if you call professional musicianship 'style', that is. Sloppy and loud, with more than a touch of toilet humor in our lame crowd banter (if we're up for it!!), our live shows will never fail to make you wet your pants with laughter and icky stuff. Yes, we're THAT good and THAT bad!!
Bottom line: We're here to serve the muse that is the pop! To pursue that magic in 'the song'. And to give you the sugar rush you need!!
They're supposed to be coming to IPO in Los Angeles in August.
And here's a video for their Strokes-y "Now That I Can See"
A: The only Malay word in the English language, BTW, is gong, the instrument so crucial to the gamelan.