Keyboards, grand and intimate at the same time, open Haha Yes and immediately, you think this is exactly what Coldplay (think “Fix You”) and the rest of them Coldplay wannabes (Snow Patrol, anyone?) have been trying to do for years and have been miserably failing to do so.
Where they sound contrived and corny and over-produced, Hannah+Gabi, as evidenced by album opener “City,” sounds organic and real and honest.
Slowly, it builds up: The guitar accompanies the piano, and then the drums, and before you know it, “City” has the right amount of full.
There is urgency there but there is also calm, like Christmas morning, when the air is fresh and the sun isn’t too harsh and you are rushing to get some fun already.
It is followed by “Lost Together,” a casual fare of vocals and guitar, with a melody so catchy the listener cannot help but be endeared to it immediately.
Its chorus, especially, sounds so natural you’d be surprised at yourself that you knew exactly which note will come next. This is one of Mikey’s favorite songs, by the way.
Track three, “New Window” is so slow we may as well take the opportunity to introduce Hannah+Gabi.
Hannah+Gabi is not a pair of cute hot indie chicks, as we all may have first thought. It’s actually the solo project of a dude, Mikey Amistoso, of “Mikey is the New Mong” infamy; also of Ciudad fame—he is the frontman of the local indie scene pioneers.
Haha Yes is his debut record and as we speak, the physical CDs are about to be manufactured for its November release. Lucky us that we got hold of the record early, albeit digitally.
But listening to the nine-track record, it becomes clear that having mp3 files of his songs won’t be enough. We are looking forward to actually having Haha Yes in our CD library.
Because—and we head back to the review—it’s a great little record. Fourth track “Soon They Pass,” for instance, is so lush you’d want to hear it whenever your senses get attacked by the every day world, which is to say every day. It is small and gentle and hopeful, with a vibe similar to another tiny indie outing: Juno the movie and its soundtrack.
Next: Another of Mikey's favorites
WORDS BY LOU E. ALBANO