Singaporean singer-songwriter Joel Tan – aka Gentle Bones – turns to the dark waters of human emotions for inspiration on his sophomore studio offering.
It’s a 180 degree shift from his self-titled EP, an endeavour that found comfort within the wrappings of warm acoustic guitar licks and sunny words.
Geniuses & Thieves works around a much moodier disposition, an aspiration that’s achieved through somnambulant synths, dark electronic beats, and woozy choruses that drip with emotional excess.
The titular opening track – with its gloomy bass drops – is a splendid introduction to the 22-year-old’s new sound. Meanwhile, the evocative Shifting Over is a sprawling slice of The Weeknd-esque electropop that takes flight with a haunting bridge and shifting melodies.
And on the disconcerting Run Tell Daddy, the dark number swoops and soars with gorgeous layers of immersive synths and dark lyrics.
But it’s on the intimate This Hurts that the record finds it calling. With its excess of brooding melodies tempered by heart-aching words, it’s amazing how at ease this young musician is at manoeuvring such a complex and articulate sound.
Geniuses & Thieves