Welcome to weekly series The Singles Life, where known experts Katie Parker and Hussein Moses peruse, ponder and pontificate on the latest and (maybe) greatest in New Zealand music.
Post-reality show life is perhaps the hardest time in any emerging artist's career, but Gold Coast based Kiwi trio The Koi Boys are touted to have what it takes. With a brand new album on the loose, the moment of truth is now.
Katie: The last time we saw The Koi Boys they were audience favourites on The Voice Australia, being babes, breaking hearts, and headed for the big time. That is until Jesse J BETRAYED THEM. But as we hardy Kiwis can know, the opinions of D list British pop divas are no measure of success, and just months later The Koi Boys – Danny Faifai, Kevin Keepa and Ngahere "Nuz" Ngatai – have released Meant To Be, an album comprised of contemporary and classic pop songs, and three originals.
I for one am not surprised that The Koi Boys scored an album so quickly. Think Sol3 Mio crossed with Michael Bublé crossed with fresh reality show fame and even my eyes light up with dollar signs. They are charismatic, gorgeous, and canny enough to know that no cabaret covers album could be complete without The Weeknd’s The Hills and Drake’s Hotline Bling.
Shows like this have a bad track record of churning out stars and leaving them to rot when the money has been made. Do you think The Koi Boys have what it takes to make it in the big bad post-Voice world? Or do you *shudder* agree with Jesse J?
Hussein: As is the way with pretty much every post-reality show act, the covers album is a quick and easy way to capitalise on whatever fleeting momentum they might have. Sol3 Mio are the obvious comparison here, but The Koi Boys offer up something a little more, uh, grown up: “It's that suave, gentleman type of sound mixed with Latin music which oozes that sexualness,” is an actual quote from them describing their music.
All they have to do now is lock down the rinse and repeat formula and they’ll be sweet. Honestly, it still blows my mind that Sol3 Mio released their debut album, then dropped an international version of it, then recorded a Live In Concert DVD, released a deluxe version of that too, then capitalised on it all with The Complete Sol3 Mio before they had even released a second album. Not everyone can duplicate that type of hot streak, but I would like nothing more than to see someone try.
Katie: It’s funny we’re getting all these covers albums right now, what with Bic Runga, the upcoming Bob Marley tribute record, and this one. Those more cynical than I might think there was some kind of annual festive gift event coming up.
The Koi Boys are definitely on that Sol3 Mio tip, so if they can get anywhere near that kind of mileage hopefully it will all be worthwhile. They’re cheesy, but I guess with these things that’s kind of the point. They seem to have a lot of charisma which is really half the battle.
But I get it: I’d much rather see a covers album than one full of hastily written, blandly universal originals. Plus they’ve made good choices – we all still like Drake right?
Hussein: If by Drake you mean Carlos Santana feat. Rob Thomas, then yes.
Now go back and listen to The Koi Boys doing Hotline Bling again. I’ll wait.
Katie: Oh my god.
Katie: So this is basically a Carlos Santana/Drake mashup?
Katie: It’s even got a fake Santana guitar solo. I’m so confused.
Hussein: This finally proves my theory that Hotline Bling is the Smooth of the 2010s.
Katie: I can’t take this seriously anymore. Katie out.
Hussein: At least now we know what album to buy our mums for Christmas.