It begins with some low-fi hip hop vibes that morph into trap and builds up to a bass drop en route to a chorus accompanied by sweeping synths that you can bob your head to.
This is “Fool” by Singapore-based IN THE NOW.
The crew is made up of teenage pals and schoolmates with producer Dan Rafael at the helm, laying vocals with Akmal Hussein, Rahmat Damansari and Alex Gryffin. An EP with 6 songs to be released in 2020 is on the works – written and produced by themselves, whilst also completing their tertiary education.
The carrier single has the charm of an untossed salad. It has all the good stuff to get the full-flavored experience across yet it somehow doesn’t.
Breaking it down
All members of the crew have singing chops to grip a listener’s attention though they underutilized combining their voices together to fuse a unique take on being a boy band in the 2020’s.
Some rapping and multi-vocal harmonization would have been nice to stir things around and complement the hip-hop, R&B, and trap roots on the track but to my dismay, there wasn’t.
The mix, nonetheless, has this smoothness that can go almost toe to toe with ones done at fully-equipped professional studios. It sure sounds like they crafted the track inside one. However, they may have fiddled around with the vocal knob a bit too much to the left.
The vocals parts are buried by the pretty melodies and it kinda hurts. I like to pay attention to the lyrics to get a deeper appreciation of the narrative. Listening on repeat for a couple of times, what I can gather is that the chorus storyteller is such a fool cause there are some reasons why he should go but he doesn’t. Point taken. But as far as what the other members of the band have to say about the subject… they can hardly be heard and that can be attributed to how most of the vocals are just unintelligible at some parts.
During the development of “FOOL”, Alex mentioned:
“We wanted the song to sound really different from what we normally do, we experimented with many different versions of the drop before we got something we were all happy with, bringing together the right amount of contrast and energetic release.”
This strat could backfire as the track is the black sheep of their compositions.
It is a sad song to introduce your band to superstardom, and it sounds like a counter-intuitive action to take as they try to break it into the electro-pop game. The reverse could also happen such that this sad, unconventional song by their own assessment serves as the wild card that hooks all hopeless romantic listeners in deep enough to get curious about the rest of the EP.
Perhaps with intensified vocal synergy and a couple of danceable instead of head-nodding carrier singles, IN THE NOW can push themselves to be as experimental as they want without going too far to their signature tone.
Is this the material they need to ease new listeners deeper into their whole EP? Your guess is as good as mine. With the oh-so-unfickled taste and lengthy attention span of the modern audience, “Fool” sounds like it’s gonna have an uphill course to nuke the electropop game and get some ears bleeding for more.
The single drops on Feb 28th together with a music video under Umami Records. Give it a listen here: https://ffm.to/in-the-now-fool
You can also check out other tracks from them below: