Assertive women, restless kidsBy Pocholo Concepcion
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Warner Music Philippines
Given its macho-sounding name, the all-women band General Luna explores contemporary Pinoy rock from an assertive female point of view, but without sounding too tough for comfort.
“Different Corners,” the band’s second album, should endear itself to guys who like their rock ’n’ roll listening fare to be varied and yet focused on a singular message: Music is like a friend brimming with all sorts of stories.
The title track grabs attention with its Phil Collins-like drum rhythms and soaring melodies, even as the lyrics about unity in racial diversity tend to be ambiguous.
Some songs depict moody introspection with creative, if humorous wordplay. For instance, the frustrated speaker in the ballad “Walang Imposible” (written by Japs Sergio) complains: “Araw-araw na lang bang uulan/E bakit pa araw ang tawag diyan?”
The album succeeds partly because the band is guided by a crack team of producers like former Dawn guitarist Francis Reyes, Mayonnaise frontman Monty Macalino, ex-Sugarfree leader Ebe Dancel, and Warner A&R head Neil Gregorio.
General Luna’s members—lead singer Nicole Asensio (granddaughter of legendary opera singer Fides Cuyugan-Asensio), lead guitarist Caren Mangaran, rhythm guitarist Audrey Dionisio, bassist Alex Montemayor and drummer Bea Lao—should carry on because we need more new music from strong-willed women.
Warner Music Philippines
For this side project, actually his debut solo album, Side A’s Joey Generoso interprets six compositions gathered by record label execs to divert from the singer’s pogi jazz image.
Of the five tracks written by foreign composers, the title track (“Stand”) and “1,000 Miles a Minute” suit Joey fine, even as it’s really difficult to disassociate him from Side A.
Three bonus tracks feature different arrangements of “1,000 Miles a Minute,” “I’ll Be” and the title track.
Joey’s biggest challenge, if he gets to record a follow-up, is how to craft his own sound, although he has started doing it here by returning to his folk-rock roots, especially on “For You” (written by Side A bassist Ned Esguerra).
12 Stone Records
Eighties-era Pinoy punk impresario Tommy Tanchanco must have been incredulous when his three kids started showing interest in playing music. Murielle (vocals), Alto (guitar) and Mato Tanchanco (drums) have formed their own band, Absolute Play, and released their self-titled debut EP.
It sounds almost like the simple but energizing three-chord tunes that Tommy used to crank out as guitarist of his old rock group, Chaos.
It’s a more pop version of punk, but doesn’t veer away from the spontaneity and DIY ethic that Tommy learned about on his first trip to London in the late ’70s.
The five songs are candid expressions of adolescent life—the fun of playing gigs (“Here Goes the Show”), puppy love (“Beautiful Star”), friends (“My Old Pal”), nature-tripping (“Blue Sky”) and going to school (“Hard Easy Semi Correct”). For discerning ears, these tunes might suck because the EP’s producers, Jack Rufo and Tommy himself, left the vocal mistakes in the final mix.
Then again, that’s the beauty of raw talent, unless Murielle was doing it on purpose. There are moments when her phrasing sounds offbeat and atonal.
What’s rather unforgivable are the typographical errors in the lyric cards: “waist” should be “waste”; “your” should be “you’re.” Nice packaging, though—there are collectible stickers for the fans.
“She’s Only Sixteen”
Older than the members of Absolute Play but definitely still young and restless, the college kids in the band She’s Only Sixteen deliver—via their self-titled EP—four of the most refreshing power pop songs we’ve heard in recent years.
The band’s sound is a hybrid of ’50s, ’60s and ’70s rock, with punk energy and attitude thrown in for good measure. The songs—which tackle lovers’ spats (the cryptically titled “Amygdala”), wooing a girl (“Dying to Meet You”), losing one’s innocence (“Mr. Schemer”) and femme fatales (“Roll the Dice”)—have intelligent, imaginative lyrics.
Mixed with spare but exhilarating music from the quartet of Roberto Seña (lead vocals, lead guitar), Andrew Panopio (vocals, guitars), Anjo Silvoza (vocals, bass) and King Puentespina (drums), the result is a winner that demands a full-length album soonest.
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