My Little Airport Becoz I Was Too Nervous at That Time

[Harbour; 2005]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: indie pop, twee
Others: Stereolab, Ramones

I'd like to tell you that My Little Airport is the Hong Kong music scene's best-kept secret, but that wouldn't be entirely true because the whole thing is a secret. With a small music scene that has to face off against the corporate juggernaut known as Cantopop, My Little Airport is pretty much its opposite. Rather than sweeping and epic, MLA is definitively small sounding; rather than having a conventionally talented strong-voiced vocals, singer Nicole is unassuming and charming; and rather than grasping with full force towards pathos, they let it sneak up on you.

Becoz I Was Too Nervous at that Time is their second album, and though I would've been happy with a straight-up continuation of the sound of their first album, The OK Thing To Do On Sunday Afternoon is to Toddle in the Zoo, those darn artists always feel like they have to change. The first half of the album is dominated by buzzing Ramonesy guitars which were almost entirely absent from the band's debut. The standout track is "I Don't Know How to Download Good AV Like Iris Does." A little ditty about wanting but not having porn (AV stands for adult video), the chorus is among the most blissful I've heard all year as synths kick in over an already great guitar line. The only slight misstep is track five, which isn't sung by Nicole; but at least it points to how integral her voice is to the band's sound.

Just when the rock tunes are getting to be a bit much, the second half of the album consists of five very different-sounding songs. "Leo, Are You Still Jumping Out of Windows in Expensive Clothes" is a full on waltz, while track eight's triplet rhythms and tremelo'd organ evoke a bygone era. But this half's real highlight is track nine, likely the most poignant song they have ever done, and interestingly, the most modestly produced with nothing really notable about its sound, letting the songwriting shine instead. As with their first album, the problem is that it just doesn't last long enough; twenty minutes is not nearly long enough to spend with a band this good.

1. Gi Gi Leung is Dead
2. I Don't Know How To Download Good AV Like Iris Does
3. [Chinese Title]
4. [Chinese Title]
5. [Chinese Title]
6. [Chinese Title]
7. Leo, Are You Still Jumping Out of Windows in Expensive Clothes?
8. [Chinese Title]
9. [Chinese Title]
10. My Little Fish