It’s been a few years since Bamboo Mañalac – formerly of Rivermaya, then of his own eponymous band, now a solo act – released an album full of new tunes, so understandably Bless This Mess is set to get some people excited. So here we are, a reminder of the best Bamboo can do: astutely poetic lyrics, almost always flowery, delivered in his breathy vocal and laid over some stirring pot of alternative sensibility and soul bravado. It is an enjoyable record, but Bless This Mess suffers from having little in the way of a memorable tune. Yes, Bamboo can still churn out a good tune, in all its creeping emotional glory, but the record trods along, content with being what it is: competent, but nothing special. Maybe I am expecting too much, but I remember my ears perking up when the last track – “Anak Ng (OFW Blues)”, the only Filipino track on the record – coming in. A pleasant surprise as it’s pretty different, language aside, from the rest. [NB] | 3/5
“Noypi” by Bamboo | Well, happy Independence Day, Philippines, although whether we’re really independent is, like everything else, questionable. Anyway, today would be the day when radio stations bring out all of the OPM tracks they don’t play often (despite the four songs per hour rule the KBP is supposed to enforce) and English-speaking DJs speak in Filipino. I remember hearing this on the former Hit FM and it was a bit excruciating. Pilit, as we’d call it. Well, I hope nothing of that sort is happening today. I mean, it is forced, and the following day we’re all concerned about Hollywood celebrities and not playing any local music at all, except for the token slots (looking at you, Magic). Me, I’ll just play a good song about being Filipino – and no, the Black Eyed Peas having apl.de.ap going “Filipino! Filipino!” doesn’t count.