CD reviews: Pedicab's EP, Light of Luna debuts

Posted at 09/09/2012 3:05 PM | Updated as of 09/09/2012 3:11 PM

Pedicab
“Kaya Mo Mag-Sando?”

In two previous albums, Pedicab, a supergroup of sorts of indie scene veterans, rode the electro-rock high horse spawned locally by its main man Raimund Marasigan’s more celebrated band, Sandwich. Record number 3, an EP, finds Pedicab still operating in dance-punk mode, using it as launch pad obviously to explore new possibilities.

Curiously, retro mixtape appears to be the band’s idea of moving forward. “La Liga Filipina” references a VST & Co. groove beneath its post-punk backbeat and Chic meets The Strokes surrounds “Otomatik”’s driving rhythm. Acoustic guitars temper the slashing chords of “The Shot.”

The band’s secret strength continues to be Sugar Raims’ sing-song vocals and new wave embellishments on keyboards. His singing provides a cut-up monologue on everyday life over the counter-flow of slice-and-dice music. He’s going fast-forward even as his mates thrill in the common sense of the rewind.

*****

Light of Luna
“Alarm of Acceptance”

Muziklaban 2010 champions Light of Luna hail from Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija but the rock issuing from their recently released debut is as current and heavy as such new-fangled genres as emo-metal and neo-progressive.

A lot of comparisons and disses will also be made with Urbandub, yet where the more celebrated Cebu-based combo delivers an enveloping sound, the Luna trio go for a more streamlined, punchier heavy rock. The three-winged flight conjures the Jimi Hendrix Experience in the post-rock age.

Actually, the instrumentation alone on "Alarm of Acceptance" will delight fans of Animals As Leaders and Pelican. There’s enough interplay of subtlety and propulsion in the way the melodic chords of vocalist/guitarist Jhunter Alejandro go over and sometimes under the hardcore-punk driven backbeat of bassist Alvin Perez and drummer Charlie Sin. It’s when the proceedings slow down to two obligatory ballads that the band slips into the twilight zone of the much-reviled glam-metal.

Otherwise, from the opening thunder of “Difference” to the power surge of “The Start of Our Alarm” to the blues-punk-metal crash of “Pop Alligator,” Light of Luna presents a rainbow of metallic colors. “Alarm of Acceptance” feels like the dawning of bigger, even greater things to come.

*****

The Tender Trap
“The Tender Trap”

This is actually the sophomore release from the five-piece Australian band which found initial success when they moved to London. Their first album entitled “Conditions” ended up in a lot of best album round-ups of 2009. The Temper Trap’s debut drew raves for the extravagant melodies and spine-tingling hooks on majority of its songs.

For their second serving, Temper Trap continue to mine the strengths of being in the same league as the new U2-lite brigade like Coldplay, Muse and Snow Patrol. That’s the good part of their self-titled new album. There’s always something comforting in listening to more or less the same old tunes with just a few fixes. The old goose-pimple baiting hugeness shows up in “Need Your Love”, “Trembling Hands, and “Miracle”, each one set loose by an expansive keyboard backing track.

Obviously, the Temper Trap aren’t interested in standing still (or resting on their laurels) artistically. Second track “London’s Burning” goes for the immediacy and strident emergency of ‘70s punk uprising flaunted by fractured guitar strums. An undertow of dance-punk counterpoints vexes the straight-forward balladry of “This Isn’t Happiness” baiting perhaps for a remix surgery. “Never Again” reminds of new wave’s electro roots by way of Depeche Mode.

The malleable voice of frontman Dougy Mandagi holds the album together skillfully and successfully treading the sprawling ballads as well as the excitable pop-rockers. It’s such a wonderful instrument that his melismatic ooohs and aahs carry the weight of a Beach Boys harmony. It’s also the sound of confidence affirming the majesty of one’s talents.