It’s quite rare to hear an entire Vietnamese album with only original tunes. Quái Vật Tí Hon (Lil’ Monsters) is an experiential rock group that does just that with its debut Đường Về. Yet what makes the album so attractive (even to none-rock listener like myself) is the combination of skillful storytelling and clever incorporation of Vietnamese traditional folks melody into modern rock.
“Vì Đời” is easily one of the highlights from the album, or at least to me, because I can related to the lyrics: “Vợ mình đẹp nhất hành tinh / Người tình đẹp nhất lúc bình minh / Vì đời có tài nên thường linh tinh.” Công Hải, lead vocalist who penned all the lyrics, knows the important of clear communication; therefore, he keeps his singing simple and stays within his raspy range. “Ô Trống” takes me back to my childhood years. I can’t recall the words, but I can hum to the melody.
Minified down to just acoustic strumming guitar, Công Hải pours out his drunken soul on “Vợ Ơi, Anh Sai Rồi.” Elsewhere, “Kẻ Lạ Mặt” recounts an incident in which he walked into his lover making out with a stranger. Đường Về is worth listening even if you aren’t into rock. Then again as much as I find the personal narrative to be engaging, the rock guitar riffs are too much noise for me to return for more.