WHEN Joel Tan (Gentle Bones) returned with a new single a month ago, listeners were stunned by his new direction. As a single, “Geniuses & Thieves” was a mission statement, marking a shift towards a considerably darker sound. Accompanied by similarly moody visuals, it skewed away from his previous works.
Having independently released a self-titled EP last year, Bones became the first Singaporean artiste to sign with Universal Music Singapore, launching his career to new heights with singles like “SixtyFive”. It wasn’t long until he made it to the top position on the nation’s iTunes chart.
One month after the release of it’s first single, Gentle Bones has his sophomore release out, also titled Geniuses & Thieves. On this project, it is made very clear that his penchant for acoustic guitars and poppy lyrics are long gone.
The record opens with its titular track, setting the tone of the entire project — “Geniuses & Thieves” is driven by an electronic sound paired with acoustic elements.
The formula works particularly well in “This Hurts”, which lays the piano upon glitchy synths and heavy 808s. This new style compliments his revamped vocal delivery very well.
Lyrically the album takes on more mature subject matters. If Gentle Bones was previously influenced by the pain of heartbreak, this time around he delves into the voids left by past lovers and unresolved relationships. Don’t be mistaken: he does not long for these ghosts.
“Just let me go home alone”, Bones laments on “Shifting Over”, and we believe him. It sounds truthful, as does every other track on the new release.
Geniuses & Thieves is not short on impact, but perhaps only features.
Because as the EP closest with “Liar”, we are introduced to Linying — a budding singer-songwriter from Singapore whose debut record “Sticky Leaves” was once featured on Spotify’s US Viral Top 50 alongside artistes like The Beatles and LCD Soundsystem. The pair then finish off in perfect harmony, leaving a sweet aftertaste as the entire affair comes to an end.