Sun, 06 Jul 2003

Artist : Padi Album : Save My Soul (Sony Music)

Clearly, something is in need of saving here. Along comes local band Padi's third album, the point in its career where it should have sharpened its own character, or at least finally know which direction it's going in.

I said, should have.

The band's first album in 1999 was an earnest attempt from five early 20s lads to make a name in the music industry. If they tried too hard to be U2, well, that's only natural for a new band to try to sound like their idols.

Their second album in 2001 was neater and bolder, although it still sounded like U2, with Radiohead thrown in. That said, we have to admit that the songs are catchy.

This record is even neater and more sophisticated, faster and more rock centered. But it's all a bit sickening as it sounds too much like Radiohead.

The first single, Hitam (Black), is a distinct reminder of Radiohead's Just; listening to the tracks evolves into a guessing game about which Radiohead song is being imitated.

Sesuatu Yang Tertunda (Delayed Business), a duet with local hero Iwan Fals, is better but just doesn't have the punch.

However, 500,000 copies of this album were sold in the first week, cementing the band's place as a record company gold mine.

But, hey, Radiohead's latest record Hail to the Thief is here, so let's just listen to the real thing. -- Hera Diani

On the record

Artist : Lisa Marie Presley Album : To Whom It May Concern (Capitol Records)

The probabilities were: A. Lisa Marie Presley simply does not have any talent in music, or B. Living under the shadow of her father, the King of Rock, is so unbearable it has prevented her from launching a career of her own.

For the past 35 years it seemed that the answer was A. But don't we love a good surprise? After waiting for so long, Presley finally has the guts to come out and give us a listen of her own voice. Even so, it took her four years to release this album, a period where she honed her songwriting skills with the help of Billy Corgan and Glenn Ballard.

To Whom It May Concern is not a great record, and Presley's voice is not that great either, although it's undeniably powerful. Somehow, however, that is what makes this album worth a listen. As well as the other merits that it is simple, unpretentious and does not try to be bigger than it really is.

Most of the songs are pretty good because they are personal and we, in this culture of celebrity, are already familiar with her life travails. With guitar-driven sound (middle tempo pop/rock), the album is a catharsis where Ms. Presley shows up her fragile side, restless for sure, but never a whiner.

"Someone turned the lights out there in Memphis/That's where my family's buried and gone," she roars in Lights Out, before continuing, "I heard all the roads, they lead to Memphis/Except for the one I'm stumbling down."

Standout tracks include Better Beware, Nobody Noticed It and Indifferent. It is a work straight from the heart, and that is what makes it noteworthy. -- Hera Diani