CD reviews: Banda ni Kleggy, Jamie Cullum

Posted at 07/21/13 2:51 PM

Banda ni Kleggy
"Only In The Philippines"

Banda ni Kleggy is composed of Kleggy on vocals and members of Callalily and 6Cyclemind on the instruments. Kleggy occasionally subs for the lead singer of selected top-notch OPM bands.

When asked what his five-piece group is bringing to the constricting space in the OPM music scene, frontman Kleggy says, “Serious music with fun message and lyrics.”

The title of their debut for Universal Records refers to tongue-in-cheek response to strange and funny situations in the country. In the same context, most of the tracks on the album tap easily recognizable genres to put across the freshmen band’s insidiously humorous messages.

“Discolamon” plugs ‘70s disco beat to the tale of a heartbroken man’s descent from dancefloor king to a food-tripping glutton. The slow ballad behind “Bawal Sa Gamot” turns table on the usual parental sermonizing on addiction, while “Darating” is an empowerment song on success wrapped in attractive pop-rock and rap.

“Umay” is a kiss-off to a loved one that’s gentle and bastos at the same time. The last track remixes “Discolamon” into a full-fledged dance number.

Woo-hoo. Welcome the latest disciples of Parokya ni Edgar.

30 Seconds to Mars
"Love Lust Faith + Dreams"

30 Seconds To Mars is fronted by Hollywood actor Jared Leto and bands with prominent personalities in the line-up can be a tricky proposition. Generally, the high-profile star tends to overshadow the merits of the music or the contributions of the other group members.

The fourth and latest release from 30 Seconds to Mars packs a music CD and a live concert DVD. Jared projects his actor image mostly on the DVD program being the band’s frontman. On the music CD, he sings his own compositions putting in his fair share in a three-corner musical collaboration

Jared’s trio specializes in electronic rock and the escalating attack of swirling synths and burly drumming shoves the music into Nine Inch Nails/Marilyn Manson territory. Add Steve Lillywhite as producer and 30 Seconds to Mars goes for the cascading sound of U2’s War, one of Lillywhite’s early master works.

It’s neither hard rock nor heavy metal though. Choral chants and retro-disco sound blunt the edge in the music. Jared is at his plaintive best in the emotive ballads and even while he sings about conquests, do or die or the city of Los Angeles, he’s an observer on the outside merely looking in much like Geddy Lee of Canadian prog-rockers Rush.

This is more than a “nice” album from an actor-driven band. It can draw mainstream audiences to more adventurous music that’s out there.

Jamie Cullum

On his sixth album, piano man Jamie Cullum puts a fresh kick over his usual pop-jazz fare by associating with soul, folk and, of all things, rap!

Cullum puts on his best show when he presents himself as a white man’s John Legend. There’s a lingering bittersweet aftertaste to both his singing and the languid twinkling keyboard on his remake of Lou Rawls’ “Pure Imagination.” In “When I Get Famous,” Collum fashions ‘60s pop beat, garage rock organ and big band trumpets into a slam dunk that wouldn’t be out of place in Legend’s or Tom Jones’ catalog.

Of course, there are misses. The big one shows up in his collaboration with rapper Roots Manuva on “Love For Sale” which tries in vain to bring a new lease in life to ‘70s lounge jazz. The heartache stops as soon as the song fades to the next track. “Get A Hold of Yourself” aims for Martha and the Vandelas’ soul shuffle but lacks the energy in building up to a jazz-rock flame-out.

"Momentum" sounds like Jamie Cullum’s stepping stone in expanding his palette beyond pop-jazz. It’s a brave attempt that bears traces of greater things to come.