Hanging Up The Moon: The Biggest Lie In The World
Kitchen. Label

Some things change, some stay the same. The same in this case? The Kitchen. Label's exquisite presentation of its products, in this case a deluxe twelve-inch vinyl release housed in a letterpressed and die-cut sleeve (in an edition of 350). What's different? Hanging Up The Moon's music, as captured on the nine-song collection The Biggest Lie In The World. The typical Kitchen. Label release is electronic to some degree and often instrumental; the style of music produced by the Singapore-based singer-songwriter Sean Lam under the Hanging Up The Moon moniker is solidly vocal-based acoustic folk in nature—hardly the kind of thing one expects from the label.

Lam, a one-time member of indie band Concave Scream and more recently an award-winning interactive designer, began the Hanging Up The Moon project in 2011 as a way to satisfy a need for self-expression outside of a band context. Though others contribute to the sophomore effort—the sound nicely fleshed out with drums by Dean Aziz, bass by Victor Low, and guitar and vocals by Leslie Low—The Biggest Lie In The World is very much Lam's show, as his songwriting, acoustic guitar (and ukulele), and fragile vocals form the core of the Hanging Up The Moon sound.

In ruminations like “Pedestrian” and “Throwing Stones,” Lam offers up wry observations about society, while “Pandora” reflects on image-making and “Flock” and “Nuclear” the complications of relationships. Melodically some songs recall Crowded House (in acoustic mode), and Lam's singing even resembles Neil Finn's in a few places. It would be easy to imagine hearing the chorus in “Pedestrian” voiced by Finn, for example, and, in its entirety, “Pandora.”

While ballads predominate, some songs benefit from an animated delivery. “Tiny Movements” receives some oomph from its rapid fingerpicking as well as from the vibraslap, shaker, and glockenspiel accents Aziz and Low add to the arrangement, while “A Distraction” opts to end the album on a purely instrumental note. One comes away from the project appreciative of its genuine character. Lam's no ironist, in other words, but rather someone whose introspective lyrics are designed to communicate honestly and sincerely. Think of The Biggest Lie In The World, then, as an album crafted to appeal to fans of artists such as Nick Drake, Bon Iver, and Crowded House.

May 2013