Fri, Feb 17, 2012 - Page 14 News List

Music: The time is ripe

By Catherine Shu  /  Staff Reporter

We Save Strawberries’ vocalist and songwriter Labi Wu, far right, says the process of creating music is like “building a romance.”

Photo courtesy of We Save Strawberries

Legacy Taipei’s series of concerts celebrating influential indie rock groups that got their start in the 1990s continues on Sunday with We Save Strawberries (草莓救星). Former members of the post-rock/pop crossover group have been invited back for the event and will perform several songs with its current six-member lineup.

Formed in 1998, We Save Strawberries is often grouped with Taiwanese post-rock groups like Sugar Plum Ferry (甜梅號, which performed at Legacy Taipei as part of the concert series last month). The band’s music deviates from post-rock, however, with its blend of electronic pop, rock and folk elements, as well as lyrics sung by Labi Wu (吳嘵萓), whose deft, feminine vocals are a big part of the band’s allure.

Despite the success of its 2002 debut album, Solar System (太陽系), We Save Strawberries took eight years to release its sophomore record Feather River (羽毛河). The long delay was due in part to members studying abroad or serving compulsory military service, says Wu, but it gave the group a chance to grow up. That newfound maturity is reflected in Feather River’s more intricate sound and sophisticated lyrics.

“We had a lot of passion when we recorded our first album, but we hadn’t refined our skills and we did not have a lot of equipment,” says Wu. By the time it recorded Feather River, the band had started experimenting with digital sound effects. The lyrics also became more thoughtful and abstract.

“Some of our lyrics are inspired by things that are upsetting, but that are difficult to discuss face to face. You don’t want to fight about it, but you can sing about it,” says Wu, who is responsible for writing most of the band’s lyrics. “And if you sing about it, more people end up hearing your point of view, anyway.”

Performance Notes

What: We Save Strawberries (草莓救星)

When: Sunday at 7pm

Where: Huashan 1914 Creative Park (華山1914), Center Five Hall (中五館), 1, Bade Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市八德路一段1號)

Admission: Tickets are NT$500 at the door and $400 in advance, available at ERA ticketing outlets, online through and and at 7-Eleven ibon kiosks

Wu’s lilting delivery is a counterpoint to her surreal and sometimes caustically humorous lyrics. Plague Youth (瘟疫青年), for example, takes a satirical look at young people who pass their time by watching foreign films, reading Nietzsche in coffee shops and complaining about being misunderstood as hipsters.

Wu promises that fans won’t have to wait long for We Save Strawberries’ third album, which is tentatively scheduled for release next year.

“We want to recover the passion that we had on our first album, mix it with the details of our second album and give listeners a chance to experience both at once,” she says.

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