-Name: The Incompetents
-Members: Serge Yared, Fadi Tabbal, Abed Kobeissy, Amine Daher
-Years Active: 2008-Present
-History: Fadi “Fe” Tabbal has been a musician (multi-instrumentalist) for a long time now. He played bass for the rock group April Ash. However, he is more well-known as a sound engineer and producer, running his own studio, Tunefork. Enter Serge Yared, a less than competent singer/songwriter and friend of Fe’s who came to the studio wizard with some songs and tunes he had written in the past couple of years. It was then decided that Serge would perform these songs with help from Fe. And so, the duo worked on bringing these songs to life as an album, being joined by several other people in the studio, both musicians and non-musicians alike.
The finished result was the group’s debut album “More Songs from the Victorious City”. And so they were asked to do a live show, something they did not expect, so they had to find a bassist and drummer. Multi-instrumentalist Abed Kobeissy would join in mainly playing bass, and Amine Daher, Fe’s former April Ash band-mate, on the drums.
And from that point on, the group has gone on to play several shows including a show in The Basement, Fete de la Musique, Deir El Qamar, and many more…
Currently they are working on two mini- albums, one like the first album, will feature Serge and Fadi’s tag-team tracks, playing off the meticulous sound-crafting and studio wizardry of Fe, the other will have a new format of tracks which will feature the band’s live lineup, playing off the raw energy of their live sound.
-Sound: The Incompetents usually have a very fun and upbeat sound. They do have some sad songs, and those sound very sincere and heartfelt. Their cover of Tom Waits’ “God’s Away On Business” is aggressive and cynical. I think it’s fair to just say that no matter what mood the song they play has, they always bring out the essence of it and express it to the fullest.
They employ a variety of musical and non-musical instruments such as marimba, duduk, toy whistle, and in live shows, empty water bottle! The variety in instrumentation gives you the feeling that they didn’t just grab some generic instruments and start playing, but explored all the sounds they had at their disposal in order to express different emotions with different sounds. Even the human voice is utilized differently, particularly, forming the beat of one of their songs from “ooh”s “ah”s and beatboxing.
They have covered several genres from folk, to psychedelic, to jazz(-ish), to industrial (or some derivative of electronic music of that nature), to just plain rock, and more…
Vocally, Serge does not have a perfect voice, nor does he sing in pure English. This is what makes the vocals sincere. There is no effort done in hiding these aspects of his singing, and that is why it is all so real and honest. He even had Fadi, with all of his modern age audio technology, and yet his voice is as is, resisting the temptations of perfection in favor for the naked truth. So does honesty matter more than vocal abilities? This is a controversial topic between me and some people I’ve introduced the band to. Their hang-up was the vocals. Well, the voice is the tool the performer uses to sing the lyrics to the song, in other words to express his/her emotions through his/her voice. Singing is about emotion. So I’d prefer it if the emotions being fed to me through one’s voice were sincere regardless of sound rather than the sound be magnificent but the emotions forced. Don’t get confused though, an excellent voice does not necessarily equal lack of emotion, and vice versa. I can give all the theories I want on voice-emotion relationship, but in the end it’s only a matter of personal taste really. Finding Serge’s vocals bad doesn’t make you a closed-minded person. I suppose in the end, this is where a listener decides whether he/she is open-minded enough for this band or not. If not, no problem, your tastes are different, if yes, enjoy.
Their website which is just a place to display unused album artwork: http://www.theincompetents.com/