“Joyful”, “gleeful”, “heartfelt”, “infectious”—these are just some of the glowing plaudits you’ll likely find in any article on local indie alternative group Ang Bandang Shirley. But if we asked any casual music fan—quick, without Googling it—name the band’s 2008 debut album, we’re sure we’d get a blank face in reply.
The answer is Themesongs, by the way, and it spawned this song:
With the recent release of Tama Na Ang Drama, the long-overdue follow-up to Themesongs, Ang Bandang Shirley prove that they’re a band that deserves to be in your iTunes, dammit.
Here, we list five reasons you should correct this injustice and grab their second LP—stat.
1. Their songs make you want to be their friend. With their amiable melodies, boy-girl harmonies, and heart-on-sleeve lyrics, Ang Bandang Shirley are the indie scene’s instantly likeable “aw, shucks” guys. This is not to say that their songs are consistently cheery. Tama Na Ang Drama is actually replete with dejection and rejection, but it manages to portray such pitfalls with the band’s niceness intact. If this album were a person, we’d have patted it on the back and bought it a drink.
2. They’re like that box of chocolates from that movie—you never know what you’re gonna get. In Tama Na Ang Drama, Ang Bandang Shirley may stay faithful to their big-hearted indie rock, but they throw in just enough sonic embellishments to keep things interesting. Keep an ear out for the ska-punk crackle in “Ewan Ko”, the shoegaze-y fuzz in “Glacier," even some '70s soft rock glaze in “Pait”. Oh, and note the guitar twangs in “Acid Reflux”—if that ain’t Carlos Santana, we don’t know what is.
3. By God, they may have written our new favorite drunken sing-along. Remember how, on those alcohol-addled barkada nights, you and your pals would discordantly wail as the Itchyworms hit the chorus in “Beer”? Well, gentlemen, we’ve found a contender for Best Song to Sing on a Beer-Soaked Boys’ Night in Tama Na Ang Drama’s first single, “Iyong”. Besides the band’s penchant for group singing, “Iyong” boasts fantastically suspenseful loud-soft dynamics that will keep you on your toes, waiting eagerly for your cue to let ‘er rip. When vocalist Selena Salang sings against a hushed background, “Tumigil ang buhay / Parang slow-mo, makulay” —just before all the instruments erupt in eardrum-busting unison—we bet you and your posse will even break out the air drums.
NEXT: Songs in the key of unrequited love
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