CD reviews: Jessica Sanchez, Kjwan, Daft Punk
"Me, You and the Music"
An "American Idol" finalist, Jessica Sanchez takes obvious inspiration from every hit-maker with diva aspirations.
Starting with two dance tracks however, her debut album does not play at once to Sanchez’s strengths. They’re probably subtle ways to introduce her vocal prowess even if they make the artist sound secondary to thumping house music.
The third song “Don’t Come Around” exploits a little bit of her range even if it plays out like a Nikki Minaj ballad. “Crazy Blue” rises to every fan’s expectations with Sanchez barging into Maria Carrey territory. “No One Compares” exemplifies Sanchez’s comfort zone where her strong voice locks in with raise-your-hands-in-the-air electronica.
It makes perfect sense that Sanchez tries to be her own woman on her first album. It’s also fair to say that as debut albums go, the freshman singer is still finding her own voice. She certainly deserves another chance at proving her mettle as the real Idol.
"IV Volume 1"
In celebration of 10 years in the OPM scene, the Marc Abaya-led Kjwan played a loud, tinnitus-inducing 22-song set at Handlebar Pub two Saturday nights ago.
Part of the promo loot given out was "Volume 1," the first in a series of four EPs the band decided to put out each year starting in 2011. According to the band manager, on hindsight, this first EP carried a varied sound compared to the more conventional rock of KJWAN’s earlier albums.
Both novice and seasoned Pinoy rock observers will hear that alt.rock vibe initially in the shoegaze leaning soft-loud slog of “Strong For Us” and the drum & bass-driven funk of “Play for the People.” The standard-issue grunge of “Walang Kaso” and the acoustic-to-hard rock flail of “Babalik Kaya?” bookend the noteworthy tracks.
The band must have played these songs at the Pub but the subtleties may have been lost in the live and loud translation. And it’s the nuances that put KJWAN above the nothing face kwans!
"Random Access Memories"
French DJs Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, otherwise known as Daft Punk. first put robotic vocals back on the pop map after its original inception in the early '70s. For their newest musical installment, the duo compresses the varied sounds of mid-'70s dance music in 14 crisp tracks that deliver messages of love and peace.
True to its title, Daft Punk’s new album forms a collage of disco, pop and progressive influences that framed the era. Much of the material navigates upbeat soul and downtempo numbers which took ‘70s disco out of its mind-numbing predictability.
The French DJs introduce more surprises to a project that could have otherwise ended as a calculated disco revival. “Giorgio by Moroder” sees the influential producer Giorgio Moroder slipping and sliding fat synth lines as disco and prog-rock tendencies swirl around the main melody. The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas rocks the beat in “Instant Crush,” while another key figure from the era Nile Rogers uncoils Chic’s rubbery funk in the opener, “Give Life Back To Music.” Famed songwriter Paul Williams lends some Broadway flash to the Shaft-themed “Touch.”