A genius and a thief?
That’s exactly what Joel Tan aka Gentle Bones is all about. His songwriting skills are mad genius while his showmanship stole everyone’s heart during his recent sold out concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Let’s just put it this way, if Geniuses and Thieves or any single in his latest EP for that matter; was sung by Ed Sheeran, Tom Odell or James Bay, it would’ve easily been a worldwide hit song. Yes, the 22-year-old singer-songwriter is that good.
Only a mere few years in the industry, Gentle Bones has already been listed in the inaugural Forbes 30 under 30 list in Asia and recently bagged home the Super Nova Award at the Hong Kong Asian-Pop Music Festival 2016. It’s no wonder why he’s the first Singaporean artist to be signed under Universal Music Singapore. His latest EP, Geniuses and Thieves is truly a lyrical work of art. Departing from his previous self-titled EP that was more indie folk-pop, Geniuses and Thieves is moving towards electro pop with much more synthetic sound and some heavy electronic driven bass. It’s apparent that Gentle Bones is stepping out of his comfort zone with this latest EP. His unique taste of music may not be what you’re used to; but I can assure you, it’s something you’re bound to fall in love with.
The opening track, ‘Geniuses and Thieves’ shares the same title as the EP already has more than 300 streams on Spotify and it’s been topping music charts in Singapore’s local radio stations such as 987FM. His accompanying music video on the other hand also topped the local iTunes video charts with more than 100 thousand views on Youtube.. The hooks in the track are so addictive, it’s almost impossible not to groove along with it. Another notable track is ‘Run Tell Daddy’, produced by Yves Rothman who was produced for CharliXCX and Post Malone). The visuals for this track showcased so much raw emotions; it’s probably one of Joel’s most honest pour-out yet. What I love about Gentle Bones is the fact that he sees music as a whole product. He feels incomplete when a song is released without a music video. This goes to show his passion in his work of art. This single is brilliant pop track with a hint of his distinctive musical style. ‘Shifting Results’ and ‘This Hurts’ are also pretty underrated in my opinion. Joel took on a more mature approach lyrically, and needless to say; his vocal abilities were well delivered too. Geniuses and Thieves closes with ‘Liar’; Joel’s collaboration with Linying, another budding Singaporean singer with a rather ethereal and dreamy vocals. ‘Liar’ is a perfect finish to the album; with the duo’s dynamic vocal abilities, it gives a sweet finish.
All in all, Geniuses and Thieves is a well-crafted album with lots of mysterious and acoustic elements paired with electronic pop. A combination that for most could be hard to pull off but Gentle Bones did it so effortlessly. His talent in music is undeniable. It’s only a matter of time that he’s going to take on the world stage.