It’s a sunny afternoon – a perfect weather to enjoy the soulful voice that is Joel Tan aka Gentle Bones. Produced and mixed by the acclaimed producer Roland Lim, this self-titled debut EP consists of 5 songs filled with sincere messages written in a unique blend of folk, pop and rock.

The first track “Until We Die” opens with sad piano and violin keys, coupled with a choir of voices crooning “Darling we will sing until we die” (the first line of the chorus). Just before you sink into heartbreak, the song breaks into a string of uplifting guitar chords. The music then slows down and Joel delivers the chorus yet again, reminiscent of Fun’s “We Are Young”; and that’s when sadness evolves into happiness and you find yourself singing along to the catchy chorus, and as the drums join the ensemble, that’s when you know this will be the feel-good anthem of the year.

Like a bicycle losing speed, “Elusive” continues gently from the upbeat first track. This love song features melancholic notes that’s combined with overlapping layers of voices and slight echoes in his voice that has the number hit home as you feel the confusion and frustration of a lover slipping away while Joel whispers tunes of his heartache.

Yet another sing-along track, “Save Me” is next on the list. We’re starting to notice a pattern in his song-writing though; with a similar introduction that contains nodes of depression (a la “Until We Die”), it doesn’t kick of with a bang. However it quickly picks up pace and it’d have you hooked on it by the time it reaches the chorus while the dramatic orchestral soundscape is only fit for a desperate cry calling out to an unrequited love.

Photo by Cherlynn Lian, courtesy of Gentle Bones

In stark contrast, “Settle Down” is an anthem for days of wallowing in your own misery. Probably the most heartfelt song in the EP, there’s almost nothing to distract you from the wistful and high-pitched vocals. However this doesn’t last for long, because in true Gentle Bones fashion, more instruments and vocal harmonies marry into a fast-paced melody.

Gentle BonesWhile the sunny weather outside remains unchanged, every song on this EP is a ticket to a memory for any individual. Gentle Bones is one inspiring musician worth your attention with his clever marriage of heartfelt lyrics and emotions, surprising manipulation instrumentals, and a delicate sentimental voice.

In short, if you find Ed Sheeran as pleasing as Joel did, you’d definitely enjoy listening to this self-titled work.

(Or in Li Zhen’s case, singing “Darling we will sing until we die…” days after her first listen)

Gentle Bones is available on iTunes.

More Gentle Bones aka Joel Tan:

Featured photo by Isabelle Chan; courtesy of Gentle Bones

Li Zhen Lim
The three loves of Li Zhen’s life are writing, drawing, and eating. But whichever you catch her doing, music is always there.Her playlist goes catchy pop to hip hop to chill out acoustic covers. It constantly plays, occasionally pauses but never stops.