Beyond bassist at his best

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 September, 2007, 12:00am

Local rockers are heading to the mainland in droves to gain a footing in a much larger market.

Following in the footsteps of former Beyond guitarist Paul Wong Kwun-chung, who released his first Mandarin album recently, and drummer Yip Sai-wing, who is now based on the mainland, bassist Steve Wong Ka-keung has released his third solo album Tata. His first Mandarin release is a rich collection of rock and pop tunes.

The album is a return to form after his hugely disappointing solo debut Be Right Back in 2002 and the slightly better Picasso Horses three years ago.

Dream, Red Chamber boasts meaningful and imagery-rich lyrics by Vincent Fang, who regularly pens for Jay Chou. The song combines rock with Chinese music and an impressive guitar solo.

Other highlights include Where Will I Find Myself Tonight, a jazzy ballad, and Tears from a Faraway Place, a poignant statement about the plight of orphans in developing countries.

The album includes four Cantonese numbers to appease Canto-pop fans. The Perfect Match portrays Wong's life-long love affair with rock 'n' roll, while Nezha Returns Home reflects Wong's feelings as a first-time dad.

Teaming with Sammy So, the former guitarist of Lam Kee and the frontman of the new indie band Kolor, Wong has created a new music style that conforms to mainstream aesthetics while introducing new elements to Chinese pop.

It may have taken over a year to produce, but it was worth it: Tata is Wong's best solo effort to date.