If I Am ... Mr (CD)
On their second album, If I Am ..., local band Mr shows how far they've come in terms of musical craftsmanship and technique. But it's frustrating to see them walk away from the musical diversity of their debut, Mister, in favour of catchy, likeable but far-from-original Canto-pop.
If I Am ... picks up literally where their debut ended: opener Back is a Cantonese version of 15, the last track on Mister. It starts gently with simple chords, but once the full band comes in, it becomes more dynamic.
Next comes the energetic, Brit pop-influenced Swing, a tribute to rock's ability to make you forget your troubles.
Frontman Alan Po's vocals have been frequently compared to Eason Chan Yik-shun's versatile voice, inspiring the five-piece to write If I Were Eason Chan. The playful number would sit comfortably on a Chan album and even features a cameo appearance by the star. This track, along with anti-development anthem Forest, sum up how much the band has improved at writing relevant, poetic lyrics. But the rock stops there.
The rest of the album is decent, but not especially impressive, Canto-pop. This release is looking for a new market: it comes with the debut album, music videos and behind-the-scenes footage - a bargain for potential fans.