Review: Magandang Simulain by Glaiza de Castro

Magandang Simulain by Glaiza de CastroI’ll admit I didn’t expect Glaiza de Castro to start a music career alongside her acting one, but the release of her debut full-length Synthesis two years back – a release widely embraced by two usually exclusive sides of Filipino music – proved it wasn’t another “actor sings because why not?” situation. That album was brave: edgy and sprawling even if it was clear she was still trying to find her place. Her follow-up, Magandang Simulain, is a different beast: here she plays with a limited palette, focusing on covers of classic OPM songs. Then again, it’s not really much of a leap: she gave me a Sampaguita vibe on her first record. But Glaiza is still figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Here her voice takes center stage: it’s not the best, but her vaguely raspy undertones fit in with what she’s trying to do. (But there some weird vocal direction decisions, especially on her version of “Himig Natin”.) Musically it feels more one-track than Synthesis, but there seems to be a focus the earlier record lacked. You’ll be hard-pressed to find something to dislike, however. Fingers crossed she figures herself out in time for a third record. [NB]3/5

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