CD reviews: Gen. Luna returns, funky Hatankaru
Warner Music’s all-girl Pinoy rock outfit unleashed a debut with more hard rock quotient than their male counterparts outside of Tanduay’s annual concerts. Two years later, Gen. Luna’s sophomore release tones done the tensile strength in favor of an eclectic mix of pop-rockers.
The variety has its main advantage of scoping in 10 songs the band’s musicality, extending from the rock balladry of the first three tracks to the noisy bridge in the soft rocking “Arms.” The ladies even try to put a twist on the acoustic normalcy of “Nadama” concluding it weirdly with a nursery rhyme.
All the relative quietude places the lyrics on almost equal footing with the sonic palette. The sharp listener will hear sophomoric lines such as “Araw-araw na lang bang uulan/Eh, bakit pa araw ang tawag dyan?, or “If one day you find /The arms that hold you tender/Will you cradle my remains?” Excuse me, your boyfriend’s a zombie?
A remake of “Kiss From A Rose” could have been a chance to give it some jazz-rock-funk make-over. Instead, it sounds like a cut-and-paste rehash of the original hit by Seal. In their search for a new sound, Gen. Luna may have unwittingly painted themselves in a corner.
The legacy of Karl Roy lives on in this excellent debut from Muziklaban 2009 winners who call themselves by their beloved home place of Karuhatan, Valenzuela City. Their odd-sounding name notwithstanding, Hatankaru shines with the many shades of punk-funk that’s as far away from the pedestrian revisionism of the Chili Peppers and their ilk.
The foursome from Karuhatan instead gives a brown twirl to the funky artistry of Rage Against The Machine and cool jazz fusion from the ‘70s. In six songs, they capture the Brownian motion of heady funk rock.
Opening track “Kirot” introduces the band in a funk soul mood but its breakdown is pure P.O.T. In attitude and lyrics, “Bawal” starts as a sideways paean to Ka Freddie’s “Estudyante Blues” then quickly sprints in punk rock mode to the revenge of the exploited on their oppressors. “Lakip” is a five-minute epic that aspires to be a song of pride for the Brown race: “Handa akong sumama sa yo kapatid/At di na hahayaan muli pang masiil/Ito ang tiday ng lahi, Matatag na kayumanggi.”
Finally, a funky album that shakes your ass and stirs your grey matter as well!
It’s about time The Killers redeem themselves from the hit “Mr. Brightside.” That said, the Las Vegas group’s fourth studio album delivers all of their influences in full splendor.
The machine that drives the entire spectacle is still ‘80s new wave, but its main chip derives its power from the grand ambition of Bruce Springsteen all the way to U2. It’s widescreen pomp all the way even if vocalist Brandon Flowers sings about teenage fugitives, lost dreams and everyday nightmares in his native city of Las Vegas, USA.
In their musical sprawl, The Killers may be lumped with today’s Muse and Coldplay. Still, the band’s overtures unveil the ragged glory of Springsteen and the E Street Band in “Runaways,” the royalty of Freddie Mercury and Queen in “Here With Me,” Simply Red messing with UB 40 in “Deadlines and Commitments” and well, undue resuscitation of Bryan Adams in “Be Still.” The rest has The Cars, Bono and U2, and the early electro of OMD and Depeche Mode popping all over the roost.
"Battle Born" may contain the most forward-thinking music from scarred survivors of early ‘00s Top 40 wars.