New York City in the late 1960s and the late 1970s seem to have uncanny parallel in today’s major Asian cities. No, I am not talking about the high crime rate, destitution, urban decay and near-bankruptcy of the Big Apple. Perhaps it is more insidious that we who live in the deep of the apparently prospering Asian financially-robust, asset-rich and investment-barfed metropolis of Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore cannot and do not feel and see it if we are just too caught up with the materialistic environs and ultra-busy daily drudgery that what used to be manifested in the form of a urban dystopia has shed its physical skin; it has now entered us mercury-like through our pores and poisoning us as it hold us down and destroying us from within slowly but certainly.
Hong Kong post-No Wave/Velvet Underground group, The Offset: Spectacles seems to tap into this zeitgeist in the deceivingly booming East Asian economic boom. The repetitive riffs and martial drumbeats of the group distil the late 1960s decadent NYC vibes to present-day Hong Kong excellently. The droney/Lou Reed-like guitar glide through many of their songs with a heavy, sullen mood; introspectively and melancholic.
The reference to the Spectacle of the Society by good ol' Lyotard in the group's name thus serves as a consistent thematic discourse to the entire album musically. I heard that they are not really popular in Hong Kong but perhaps what they are singing about and the art that they are presenting/throwing into the faces/ears of the audience there is too much to bear for too many of them.