In the year since the release of Ming & Ping's 2004 debut LP MingPing.com, these Hong Kong-born, San Francisco-dwelling identical twins have become a small scale pop-cultural phenomenon, attracting a diverse and devoted cult following with their sublimely subdued, New Wave-inflected pop songs, smart visual style, and soft-spoken charisma. Though still flying under mass media's radar, Ming & Ping's videos, music, and image have spread rapidly across the globe via the Internet, surfacing in dance clubs, film festivals, and magazines from Japan to Great Britain. Now, with the completion of Ming & Ping's second LP, MP2 (Omega Point Records), it's clear that these brothers and their irresistible brand of electro/indie pop are just too much fun to remain buried in the underground much longer.
The opening track, "A Little Different", eases listeners into the album - the gentle synthesizers and the brothers' round-and-round vocals weaving a pleasantly hypnotic web. From there the energy level rises quickly, cresting with the kinetic New Wave rave-up "Delete" and the propulsive synthpop cut "Midnight on the Bridge", with its haunting chorus of "we both wonder what it's like to drive our car / past the yellow line into the dark / looking up from the water, I'd see you smiling". Another standout, "Splendid", will have many listeners whistling its melody for weeks.
Live, where they were once content to perform with their tape recorder and CASIO at coffee house open mics, the twins have since responded to fans' demands for a show more in keeping with their albums by assembling an act featuring Chinese emperors and giant wind-up cymbal monkeys, dazzling video projections, backing dancers, and a multi-talented supporting crew known as "The Ming & Ping Dynasty". The brothers have taken their synthpop-cum-Cantonese Opera spectacle all the way from their native San Francisco all the way up and down the West Coast, to as far east as Texas, with a full, national tour expected near future.
When asked whether Ming & Ping think they have changed since their musical careers began in the summer of 2002, Ming's response was "to change on outside is always [happening]. But in our changes, we realize we are always the same person - always seeing beauty in the details." This attention to "beauty in the details" has earned Ming & Ping positive comparisons to the delicately orchestrated pop of The Postal Service, Prince, and Brian Wilson and shines in every track on MP2. Listening to it, it's clear that the chorus of whispered praises that has surrounded Ming & Ping's music will only grow louder in the days, months, and years to come.