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"Good music, music you love, really transcends age (and) we set out to make a timeless record." - Cheating Sons (clockwise from left) comprises Lazarus Wang Renyi (vocals, guitar), Andy Yang (percussion, bass), Andy Liew (drums, percussion), Leong Chee Shan (lead guitar) and Donovan Loh (bass)
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Cheating Sons grows up on second album

May 8, 2015 5:50 AM

THERE are a couple of things that strike you when you hear a Cheating Sons record - they sound like a band from a bygone era and their swampy brand of rock 'n' roll is multi-layered and mind-bendingly addictive.

It's precisely these things that have wowed their fans and critics alike as the roots band is often name-checked by their peers and the press for their adventurous musical spirit and technical prowess.

Naturally, it's something Cheating Sons themselves are proud of - "We would like to think we offer a style of music and performance that you don't really hear much of in Singapore, or anywhere in the world," says the band, which comprises Lazarus Wang Renyi (vocals, guitar), Leong Chee Shan (lead guitar), Donovan Loh (bass), Andy Liew (drums, percussion) and Andy Yang (percussion, bass).

Formed in 2008, the five-piece released their eponymous sophomore album earlier this week, a record which they made secretly without telling their fans while holed up in a basement studio with Los Angeles producer Manny Nieto (The Breeders, Los Lobos). The work is a follow-up to their critically acclaimed debut, 2011's Masters, Wives, Daughter.

Musically, the new record finds Cheating Sons moving away from their riffs-heavy debut and experimenting further with new sounds.

The band explains: "Music is all about change and progression, so when we decided to drop everything for a year to make our sophomore album; it allowed us to mature and grow as musicians and songwriters."

They also brought in a string and horn section, on top of adding more exotic instruments such as anklungs, dulcimers and bouzoukis to the mix.

But the vintage sound is still there, thanks to the gear they always use. "Many of the recording amplifiers we use are from the 1950s, '60s and '70s and (Loh's) instruments are all from that era," Cheating Sons shares.

In the same spirit, old-school recording techniques were used to give the record a warm analogue feel - something which will be even more evident when the the album gets a limited-edition vinyl run next month.

Cheating Sons says their music is inspired by the music they love and their vintage sound isn't just a fad or gimmick.

"Good music, music you love, really transcends age (and) we set out to make a timeless record because many records we are inspired by and love will continue to inspire and be adored for generations - tell (us) your great-great-great-granddaughter is not going to love an Elvis classic," they say. "Music is also somewhat cyclical - the new gets old and the old becomes new."

Cheating Sons' new album is now available to stream and buy on most digital platforms including Spotify, iTunes and Bandcamp. Physical CD copies are on sale at Curated Records (Tiong Bahru) and Roxy Records & Trading (Excelsior Shopping Centre). For more info, check www.cheatingsons.com

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