Paul Wong Koon-chung, vocalist and guitarist of respected local rock band Beyond for the past 15 years, has just released his first solo album. Beyond began as an underground rock 'n' roll band and went on to be recognised as one of the most influencial local bands of the 1980s and 90s. They survived the tragic death of vocalist and guitarist Koma Wong Kar-kui who fell from a stage during the filming of a Japanese game show in 1993, but last year announced they would take a break.
Wong seems to be ambitious and serious about his solo career - on his eponymous debut, he uses international musicians such as British band Japan's bassist Mick Karn, guitarist Sugizo of Japanese superband Luna Sea, drummer Funky from Japanese band Slump and Zhang Yadong, Canto diva Faye Wong's collaborator from Beijing. Wong has also formed his own band, Hann, to back him in the recording studio and on stage.
The style on Paul Wong is traditional hard rock, with catchy tunes alongside Wong's distinctive guitar solos. Sugizo's J-rock-style guitar work also makes the songs sound more appealing and hard. Not all the tracks, however, are as hard as you might imagine and a few ballads lighten the load. The hardcore hip-hop Hong Kong For Sure is Wong's collaboration with hip-hop collective LMF, and they get stuck in to the state of the SAR's political scene. There has not been such a musically sincere local album around for some time.