After years of dithering I ended up listening to One Click Straight only two months ago, where I expressed admiration for how their neon-hued rock fits in to pretty much any point of the day. After listening to their debut album The Midnight Emotion I realize I could have also described them as a band clearly inspired by the 1975 – although that would have meant I was having a bad day and was not having any of it. This album is tricky. I still enjoyed it; it still pretty much fits into any part of the day, although reading the album title means your head locks into the image of being up awake, deep into the night, in a slightly humid bedroom at some gritty urban district in Manila. But for the most part The Midnight Emotion seems content with what it has going. There were a few surprises – “Velvet” and “Honey” break up the monotony of the record’s first half, but not enough to bring me back to the fold. The album feels too committed to the (very) specific image it’s conjured to the point that it’s not quite willing to move things forward. Perhaps it’s a disappointment if you listen to it as a whole album: as a collection of songs in a queue with many others, the aims are admirable. Still, it is a strong first effort, and I hope for a stronger, more focused, perhaps more inclusive follow-up. [NB] | 3/5
Oooh, it’s our thirtieth installment, and on a week when I’m reviewing (tomorrow) four albums from Filipino acts. That’s something I never thought would happen in this blog’s entire history, even if most of that is down to coincidence. When I started earthings! I imagined I’d have a hard time writing about local music, in part because I felt disconnected from it, thanks to shifting tastes and the fact that more credible local acts seem to have crawled back underground. Now, well, I still don’t go to gigs that much – the whole set-up remains prohibitive to me – but it’s interesting that I know a bit more about these things now, and I feel a little more comfortable reviewing them. But, you know, still an outsider. I have to keep that brand going as long as possible.