|Photos by Alasdair McLeod|
Words by James A. Newman
THE ROOF TERRACE of the Hansar hotel, a cool December breeze, up here the air is cleaner, pollution less troublesome, corruption more bearable in the clouds than on the streets. The bar counter sits beneath a giant Chinese lantern. A lantern that may or may not have been changing color. A chameleon lantern perhaps? Potted plants, sofas. Chilean wine.
Christopher Minko sits cross-legged picking effortlessly at a blonde wood electric acoustic. Jimmy plays slide guitar. Bass player James Sokleap plays multicolored strings. Cambodian chanteuses sisters Chamroeun harmonize flawlessly with a professional traditional gracefulness. Hearts were broken, CDs purchased. Krom were finally playing for the first night in Bangkok city. This was an event. Christopher Minko's guitar is a controlled and measured instrument. Picking strong deliberate notes complemented by the slide guitar and those haunting harmonies this music evokes a mystical sound - a sound you feel you've heard somewhere before. A nostalgic sound. Minko's vocal range is a deep gritty noir growl of injustice. The sound of a man hanging around in a world gone wrong. Hanging around to warn others of the dangers. There may be hope somewhere, but hope comes in many disguises, most of them black.
7 Years Old is a disturbing meditation on the hopelessness of child prostitution. The inner scars that will never heal should be exhibited via song to heed warning to others. The Haunted is haunting in every sense - it stays with you. Down Sukhumvit Road is just that. Passion and Rain and Sadness just some of the other titles.
Krom is a unique band. A truly international group who have created their own genre. We were thrilled to have the chance to watch them play in this wonderful venue.
|Newman, Catto-Smith, Minko and Cummings.|
You really do have to hear this band live to appreciate them, but if you can't, then pick up their latest CD: NEON DARK.
For those in Bangkok don't miss out. Krom play tonight at the Overground bar on Sukhumvit soi 22 hosted by Grahame Lynch.
Visit the venue here: https://www.facebook.com/OvergroundBarCafe
Visit the band here: https://www.facebook.com/KromSong