Big Band Syndicate (BBS) doesn’t mince words on what it is. “An all-star band that will produce pop songs,” it says on their Facebook page. [firstpara]
And their first record, Ctrl+Alt+Del+Restart, is living proof of that manifesto.
It's an 18-song album, with six original compositions, six acoustic variations of those compositions, and six minus-one versions.
The album is OPM pop rock at its most faithful—safe and clean— the kind that is bound to be played on radio stations that never fail to point out that they’re number one.
You also read that right: minus ones are included. They make it easy for you to sing along too.
They, in the case of BBS, are Darwin Hernandez of Soupstar Entertainment and Rye Sarmiento of 6cyclemind.
They are the brains behind this project, and the ones responsible for bringing together big names in the industry to collaborate and craft radio-friendly melodies. It’s a project that’s not short on talent, with, among others, Wendell Garcia, Raimund Marasigan, Buddy Zabala, and Jay Durias lending their chops to the album. Kean Cipriano of Callalily handles the singing chores with enthusiasm.
It is no surprise, therefore, that Ctrl+Alt+Del+Restart is proficient at what it does. It hits the right notes, progresses to a swell where it should, and quiets down to a hum when it must. That the album rarely breaks away from convention makes it easy to listen to.
The opening licks on “Bata,” inject giddy energy right away, which suits a song that talks about feeling like a child in love ("Ako sayo’y maghihintay, na ako sayo’s nag-aabang/ Katulad nang isang bata na umiibig").
OPM has always been hopelessly romantic, and “Habang Buhay” is a reflection of that. The singer goes “Habang buhay tayong magsasama, habang buhay tayong magsasaya,” and the accompanying instruments seem to be just as intoxicated with that thought.
Of course, “habang buhay” rarely ever happens, and BBS is all but aware of that. So to that end, they offer “Pawiin,” and “Wala Na Tayo.” The former places one in the shoes of someone who has been left behind by a lover; the latter explores that well-worn theme further. “Alam kong wala na tayo, alam mong wala na tayo, alam kong wala na tayo, di ko na kailangan pang ipilit pa,” it goes. There is also a third one of the same vein called "Papawiin," which is an alternate version of "Pawiin" only this time it assumes the viewpoint of someone willing to be the fall back guy.
Indeed, the avenues that Ctrl+Alt+Del+Restart takes you to are all very familiar. There is no danger of getting lost. It knows what it is, and knows what its audience wants to hear. If you’re looking for something fresher, well, don’t look for it here, because it’s tedium you might find. But if you’re after harmless tunes that sing about what OPM songs are known to sing about, then Ctrl+Alt+Del+Restart should fit to your liking like a glove.