Review of Chochukmo: The King Lost His Pink
Chochukmo: The King Lost His Pink
1 Child Heights
2 Tell Her (Laura I Love Her)
3 Number One
4 Let Her Go
5 Head To Toe
6 Till Late No May
7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 To You
8 Something Special
10 Welcome to the Graveyard
Full tracks listening on Bandcamp
Chochukmo: The King Lost His Pink
Whenever people ask me what does the music sound like from my hometown Hong Kong, this is the album I would always recommend. Released in 2009 as a result of a magazine’s project for unsigned artists or music groups, and was created by a group of amateurs who wanted to enjoy some music after dreadful day-jobs. Back then, there was no ground for local rock music in any record stores in Hong Kong, which made It very unusual when I saw this album on the front shelf of a local HMV store. It turned out to be a great success as there was a boom of indie music audience which nurtured not only Chochukmo, but many more bands that altogether vitalised the long-gone local indie scene.
Smells like Teen Spirits
This album is made by young locals, for young locals. Track titles are filled with curse words rhyme and a cutting sense of humour which would confuse English speakers ("Child Heights", "Till Late no May”). Lyrics also contain messages that young locals would instantly sympathise. For example, they addressed the loss of national identity faced by common young locals given the situation of Hong Kong transforming from a British colony back to a city of China (“Tell Her (Laura I Love Her)”, “Number one”). On the other hand, they questioned the meaning of life from the perspective of a group twenty-something, encouraging people like them to seek their own goals despite situating in a highly stressed society with ridiculous living cost ( “Head to Toe”, “Something Special”, “Welcome to the Graveyard”).
The Sound of Hong Kong
Musically speaking, it boasts complex beats and mind-boggling time changes from influences of Japanese math-rock and post rock bands. Blistering guitar solos and intricate but deadly-tight song structures reflects elements of English punk and rock songs in the 80s and 90s which accompanied their youth. The cacophony of influences is another reason why this album is the sound of Hong Kong, as it clearly represents the mix of Eastern and Western cultural background of Hong Kong.
CNNGo editor Zoe Li says, “Sounds like Hong Kong alright.”
Justin Sweeting writes in Time Out Magazine: "[Chochukmo] are a band of this city. They’re a mashed-up cacophony of influences that merges to create something original and uniquely theirs.”
Fresh and Raw Rock n' Roll
Comparing to the musical quality, this album is a lackluster in terms of audio fidelity. The whole album is made up of some home recordings which they managed to finish inside one single month since they have to meet the project deadline. Without the benefit of seasoned producer and experienced engineers, you will find common flaws like thin electric guitar sound and poor frequency arrangements. Some of the guitar lines of "Head to Toe" is even out of tune! However, personally, I think these flaws have benefitted the album by adding the freshness of raw rock and roll to the sound distinguishing it from the typical over-produced commercial albums.
(Band name Chochukmo in Chinese)
“Perhaps the most charismatic band to have emerged in southern China in recent years” - Time Magazine (2009)
“The Hong Kong Hot List: 20 people to watch” - CNNGo (2009)
“Top 20 Hong Kong Musicians” - Time Out Hong Kong (2008)
Bringing bands and audience back
Looking back from 8 years later, the band has turned into professional musicians active in various field of music including drama, session players, tv commercials and even local cinemas. Since 2009, albums of local band started to flood record stores, audiences started to overwhelm live houses. Together with their peers, they made local indie music to start gaining mainstream and worldwide attention which was unseen after huge local mainstream bands died down in the 90s.
Chochukmo. (2009). The King Lost His Pink, by Chochukmo. [online]
Available at: https://chochukmo.bandcamp.com/album/the-king-lost-his-pink [Accessed 8 Jul. 2017].
Fitzpatrick, L. (2010). Loose Canon. [online] TIME.com. Available at:
http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1958731,00.html [Accessed 8 Jul. 2017].
Li, Z. (2009). What's that sound? Chochukmo | CNN Travel.
[online] Travel.cnn.com. Available at: http://travel.cnn.com/hong-kong/play/who-are-they-chochukmo-271595/ [Accessed 8 Jul. 2017].
Ng, B. (2009). The King Lost His Pink by ChoChukMo (Dec 2009)
[online] Undergroundhk.com. Available at: http://undergroundhk.com/reviews/cd-reviews/the-king-lost-his-pink-by-chochukmo-dec-2009/ [Accessed 8 Jul. 2017].