Review: Salubungan by Johnoy Danao

Salubungan by Johnoy DanaoSometimes, all you need to succeed as an artist is the ability to sound sincere. Johnoy Danao has seemingly mastered that art, with a recipe that never changes and yet never stays the same with every outing. In Salubungan all that remains: frank yet sweet lyrics, a delivery laden with gravitas, and some masterful plucking. You may have to wait a while for it to kick in, though: “Right Time”, his previously released collaboration with Clara Benin, is a surprisingly somber start to a record that has a spring in its step, a jubilant mood, despite the more measured sentiments of the album’s first half. (“Two to Tango” and “Walang Hanggan” close the album off in soaring style, before a solo, less somber version of “Right Time”.) It’s like Johnoy was hiding behind the bushes and goes, “surprise!” and then does what he does best. [NB]4/5

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