[ Review] Mr Saxophone stands out

By Candace Kwan
By Candace Kwan |

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Phil Lam's self-titled full-length debut begins with Stay With You Tonight, which features a catchy English refrain about - yup, you guessed it - unrequited love.

The topic may have been trivialized by (almost) every Canto-pop album ever made, but Lam's timely execution makes the feelings believable. It's also worth noting that you might develop an urge to slap some sense into him for not making a move on the girl after multiple opportunities. I mean, judging from the full-size poster and glamour shots included in the box set ... what's not to like? C'mon man, give yourself more credit.

Despite a slightly cliched start to secure a fan base of teenage girls, Lam displays his prowess as a saxophone player near end of the fourth track, Write Poetry. He provides a much-needed jazz-twist that stands out.

Fusing the trademarks of Canto-pop with bits of jazz here and there - even experimenting with techno with layered synths - the album is ambitiously crafted to display Lam's versatility as a singer (and to highlight his impressive vocal range).

When Lam sings about holding back his feelings, it's appropriate. The album seems to hold back on the depth of Lam's talent as a singer-songwriter. It seems like a teaser of what's to come.

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