In Search of the King (33rd Island)

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General Information

Artist: 33rd Island
Title: 寻找国王 (xúnzhǎo guówáng) / In Search of the King
Release Date: 2007, February 13
Label: Badhead Music (Modern Sky Records)
Type: CDDA
Catalog No.: B032

Track Listing

  1. 两条腿的狗和三角形剧院
  2. 月亮笛
  3. 猴子在巨人醒来之前的舞蹈
  4. 梦花街
  5. 大象
  6. WAI
  7. 33岛
  8. 太空船
  9. 时间的灰烬


  • (c) that's Beijing Blog, Venus Lau, May 29, 2007

Gliders, an old submarine, pink hot balloons, a bull dog with ridiculously long legs and red velvet opera curtains – this album’s foldout cover mural already suggests some kind of uncanny chimera like the Fiji mermaid in the Barnum Museum. Inside, the song titles match: A Two-Legged Dog and a Triangular Opera House (Liang Tiao Tui de Guo he Sanjiaoxing Juyuan), for example, or The Dance of the Monkey Before the Giant Wakes (Houzi Zai Juren Xinglai Zhiqian de Wudao). Even with simple images like Moonlight Flute (Yueliang Di), this Shanghai band led by Jiang Zhendong seems ready to take the audience on a phantasmagoric adventure – or, given their penchant for animal alter egos, they might follow the herd and form a virtual band like Gorillaz.

Certainly, the shamanic murmur-vocals, poetic fairytale lyrics, weird synths, and the radio-broadcast recording style may lead you to classify this as experimental, or otherwise unclassifiable music. The details are fascinating, but look beyond them and you’ll find simple, linear, melodic patterns. The picture of adventure shatters, unveiling the reality of Chinese pop culture. To a point, the album still deserves the theme of exploration, but unlike John Cage or Nam Joon Park, it’s a little pop band’s effort in trying to blur the lines of musical genres.

It’s certainly not a sin to be a pop band (not everybody’s Theodor Adorno). It’s just that Chinese pop music is merely a matter of the music industry’s supply and demand, a simple numbers game. But if you are fed up with the local pop scene, this Badhead (Modern Sky’s alternative label) release makes for a good first step away from S.H.E and the Super Girls.


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