Wednesday, March 12, 2008

KAWAN by Plague OF Happiness

"I’m not comparing POH to any bands internationally. Why? With this album they already know what they want with their music. I admit Kemuri, Rancid, Bosstone, Reel Big Fish have the element in their career but who cares. This is POH owns blend of coffee with their own sugar.. condensed milk. It’s not to compare with Starbuck or San Francisco coffee. It’s Malaysian own happy tune with punk element.."

- Ammir Hafzan (

"After so many recording attempts for this project; time and time again being ripped-off by studios, dragged around by crap production people, offers by a major label (who threatened them with total boycott if they didn’t sign the contract!) etc., Johor’s main ska-punk proponent PLAGUE OF HAPPINESS finally decided to give their best in a posh studio in Singapore; self-financed, self-dictated!

It took around four long months; scrapping for money during the week days and visiting the studio at weekends. Tonnes of money spent, and it’s not cheap; actually if you would go by normal DIY punk rock standards, the money spent could have been used to record 20 DIY punk rock EPs!

Anyway, the band is finally at ease, they have now in their hands their very own, long-awaited album and here’s the result - a colourful pro-printed CD with 10 songs encased in an equally colourful digipack and a poster; all under their own label Nyaring Records.

So how is it? Well, lets go on the plus points first. The band has always been dishing out singalong-friendly positive lyrics, a bit like what Youth Brigade or 7 Seconds would dish out in their early days; positivity, empowerment, geddup-standup etc.

Musically they have always been playing modern ska, a style which aligned itself to the “3rd Wave” - so it’s an amalgam of the Bosstones to Catch 22 etc. The one thing which would annoy me to no end in the early days was that “metal” sounding rhythm guitars and solos which “plagued” their previous recordings. BUT… that is now no longer a problem. The guitar has gone proper crunchy “rock” ala all of them mid-90s pop-punk bands.

As a whole though, the production is so bloody clean that it’s almost on par with fuckin’ No Doubt! Maybe I’m exaggerating here but I hate it when the “dirt” and “recklessness” of proper snotty punk rock being washed away with antiseptic-like recording. And that explains my preference for trad-ska, late-70s ska revival or skinhead-ska “boss” sound instead of this, or the dirt of Ops Ivy instead of Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

That said, there are some songs which are still jumping wild though. However, I do believe the way to experience Plague proper is to check out the live shows. The guys can go pretty manic and jumping all over the place, so I will be waiting for that instead.."

- Joe Kidd (


din said...

1000(+)X greater than nanban, b4 we were young, their 4-way split and any other release.... kinda amazed with kudut... he finally got his real rythm... And I think, it not too much if I standardize him with travis on +44, not blink... this is just my opinion... their horns squad are more tight than b4... clean recording, positive lyric, and sounded almost like catch22 and kemuri (hehehe... PMA ye nas??) but kinda regret as they postponed LEPASKAN from this album (mane janji ko nas mase kat melake dulu?? -_-" ) afterall, nice try for this newbies.... may this "PLAGUE" spreaded all around the world one day....

*ralat sebab poster plague dah terkoyak... alahai....

Anonymous said...

i've been to most of POH shows. I've never get enough. For years, i've watched their progress and finally they come out with a "Tour". So sweet..!!
Opening the tour at MCPA was great. POH has proved that there's no easy way to get to the top. Armed with Ampeg Bass amp, new drumset and others improvement, makes me wonder "what has been these guys been doing all these years to get at this level of playing and where do they get the money to buy these equipment?".
Yes, as an individual in a band when you've been playing gigs for a long time, you shall asked yourself " Where do i go from i getting serious making music or just for fun of playing?"
As a band, especially our" independent" bands, should have their own target to a certain point to have their own equipment etc and make it as a business. not just for the sake of playing gig. It seems that POH is on the right track..and for others to educate from them.