Review: Malaya by Moira dela Torre

Malaya by Moira dela TorreI like Moira dela Torre. I like her singing. I like her voice. Yes, that was a given considering I have a thing for vocals like hers, but still, I like her voice. I’m happy to see her steadily rise up the ranks. When I first properly heard “Titibo-tibo” while browsing at a store I was genuinely surprised to learn it’s her. Malaya, her first full-length, allows her room to expand and show off what she’s got, after doing all these soundtracks for these vaguely indie rom-coms (although some of those songs appear here). That said, man, this album is a drag. Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? Saying that implies it’s Moira’s fault, and “Titibo-tibo” – which shows up at the very end of the record – proves she is capable of being bouncy, a bit frothy, definitely playful, even if that’s your typical whimsical singer-songwriter trope. But to get there we have to go through ballad after overwrought ballad, and while it’s nice at the start (“Langit Lupa”, a duet with Iñigo Pascual, is a highlight – a male voice breaks the monotony) it becomes too much halfway through. Even Moira is straining by then, and her voice shows it. By the time we reach the obligatory covers – Imago’s “Sundo” and Moonstar 88’s “Torete”, songs so iconic any cover will never compare – I am, well, furious. The producers have severely hobbled her, done her absolutely no favors. Moira deserves better. What a waste. [NB]2/5

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