CD reviews: Alessandra sings + Gloc 9's 'Sirena'

Posted at 08/19/12 1:26 PM

Alessandra de Rossi


Who knew actress Alessandra de Rossi had musical chops? The evidence is in her freely downloadable debut “Adrift” which references the smooth side of trip-hop and dream pop.

In interviews, de Rossi admits to being a non-musician so the album is as much hers as her collaborators who include Archipelago’s Pat Tirano, the producer, and a bunch of kindred souls with non-musical cred on various tools of the garage music trade.

Feeding on the freedom of indie and the energy of DIY spirit, de Rossi and her close associates create background music fit for a 3 a.m. come-down from heavy night-clubbing or post-coital interludes. It can also be a nice distraction for bored wives stuck with un-rewarding house work.

Which is not to say “Adrift” has fallen prey to its own self-deprecating title. Thing is, the tracks tend to flow seamlessly, talk of the album’s supposed affinity with water images, such that it hardly peaks to something more interesting than, say, the vocodered opener in “Trigger Happy“ or the bossa groove in “After Hours.”

Still, “Disconcerting Ride” is prime slice of trip-hop with a memorable refrain that’s worthy of wider exposure, while “High” is soul-jazz bristling with a magnificently skanking bass and de Rossi’s misty vocals.

The album itself is technically adrift in digital space until the occasional intrepid searcher stumbles upon it and unpacks it from the ether. Then again, it’s freely available so dig this winsome floater for what it’s worth.

Snow Patrol

"Fallen Empires"

It’s easy to brand Irish band Snow Patrol, a recent Manila visitor, as Coldplay Jr. or even Little U2. The five man group traffics in the same atmospheric rock that catapulted U2 and Coldplay from small beginnings.

Snow Patrol started its climb out of nowheresville after “Chasing Cars,” their first single in 2006 and, after seven years of fruitless search for recognition, became the toast of "Grey’s Anatomy OST Vol. I." The initial success led to a string of albums shifting millions of units worldwide.

Snow Patrol understands you can squeeze only so much juice from the same lemon so its sixth and latest offering, “Fallen Empires,” goes for an extended palette of sound. 

Its opening cuts, “I’ll Never Let You Go,” followed by the lead single, “Called Out In The Dark,” are buttressed by synths and electronica. The title track retains the widescreen romp of anthemic rockers of earlier works, but similar grandly themed “The Weight of Love” has a gospel choir sending the tune to heaven-ward lift-off, while “The Symphony” and “This Isn’t Everything You Are” go for the perfect pop crown. 

“Fallen Empires” is certainly a huge leap forward from a surprise hit six years ago. Snow Patrol has been quoted to have said recently that “Chasing Cars” seemed to have shoehorned them among music fans as mere stylish rock balladeers. The new album is their chance to prove there’s a lot more from the band and that their brand of rock and roll is as modern and as diverse as their erstwhile heroes’.

Gloc 9

“Sirena” single from the album "MKNM"

The song is a foretaste of new music from the rapper otherwise known as Aris Pollisco. Its poking fun at the coming-out of closet gays has already earned snide remarks of political incorrectness and offensiveness.

It’s actually difficult to hear the offense when the accompanying music is the liveliest pop rock this side of Gary Valenciano. 

Once the allure of the music fades to the background, it’s hard to take offense in double entendres that go “Ako’y isang sirena/Kahit anong gawin nila bandera ko’y di tutumba.”  To paraphrase Marshall Mathers, will the former Rustom Padilla please stand up?