Review: Bawat Daan by Ebe Dancel

Bawat Daan by Ebe DancelThe toughest part of reviewing Bawat Daan – the solo debut second solo album from former Sugarfree vocalist Ebe Dancel, and his first with Star Records – is the fact that he’s, well, the former vocalist of Sugarfree. It’s not that my head cannot reconcile Ebe the rock band frontman with Ebe the sort-of middle of the road balladeer; his voice was always comfortable, yet capable of anthemic power, and that’s how Sugarfree sustained a wide appeal even after the retreat of local alternative to their gigs up north. The same goes with his solo work, the most recent of which finds its way in Bawat Daan: his theme songs for television and film (notably that buzzy smash Heneral Luna) may be a bit of a cliché, but benefit from the delivery. In between those theme songs, and three unnecessary Sugarfree covers (although the now orchestral “Huwag Ka Nang Umiyak”, with KZ Tandingan, adds a new dimension) are new ones that show Ebe at his best: relatable writing that doesn’t always turn to sentimental gloop, aided by this mix of hope and ennui that only he has managed to pull off. “Dapit-hapon”, for instance, is classic Dancel: a quiet start, a soaring climax, a good feeling at the end. It’s a shame I had to go through a lot of filler before getting to the gold. [NB] | 3/5

Review: Rock Supremo by various artists

Rock Supremo by various artistsTo mark 150 years since the birth of Andres Bonifacio, Rock Ed Philippines released Rock Supremo, eleven tracks (and, later, a “rock ballet” with Ballet Philippines) loosely riffing on the life of the revolutionary leader. Not having seen the show – I heard of this and it was too late – I’ll have to stick with the songs, which are decidedly random (well, loose) and reflect on the collaborating artists’ styles and approaches – as well as that tendency for Filipinos to boil everything down to romantic love – rather than being a cohesive work, which, from where I stand, it a bit disappointing. But no matter: it’s always nice to hear Ebe Dancel do his sweeping ballads (“Lakambini”), Pedicab’s gone surprisingly, defyingly melodic (“Ang Dakilang Duwag ng Katipunan”) and Radioactive Sago Project is acerbic as always, even in death (“Hoy Emilio”). Too bad Rico Blanco can’t be arsed to do something new, deciding instead to contribute an old single, “Yugto”. Or am I just not that familiar with the rest? [NB] 3/5

“From now on, your troubles will be out of sight.”

“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” by Ebe Dancel | I know. It’s too late to post a Christmas song, but Adrian (him again!) sent this recommendation in during the blog’s break and I only got to post this now. If you don’t feel like going to work yet (and you have to, it’s already the 7th) well, here’s one for you. Also, it’s Ebe Dancel. What could go wrong? (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)