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Sugar Hiccup Finds Bittersweet 'Closure'
They launched—what they announced would be—their last album
by Jill Tan Radovan | Jan 5, 2018
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“We’re past ‘Five Years,’” vocalist Melody del Mundo had said in an interview days before the launch of the new album. She also said the band wouldn’t be playing its breakthrough single, the crossover hit that afforded them masa-wide recognition in the mid-‘90s.

Photo by Jill Tan Radovan

“We’re past that, and that’s why we’re also happy about this new album because hey, we have new songs that we can play. And unfortunately, we’re just gonna play these once, which is at the launch,” Melody added.

The band delivered on Melody’s promise. Sugar Hiccup didn’t play “Five Years,” not even when someone from the audience shouted the song title, probably hoping to hear it live for one last time.

“Baka one year pa lang, di na namin kayanin,” Melody quipped. She wasn’t feeling particularly well that evening; she had been nursing a flu days into the album launch, which was held last December 30 at 12 Monkeys in El Pueblo.

The band held on to its original members, except for the bassist. Prank Sinatra’s Iman Leonardo recorded bass tracks for the new album, and of course played during the launch. Melody, guitarist Czandro Polack, and drummer Mervin Panganiban were intact.

Photo by Jill Tan Radovan

Sugar Hiccup played songs from the new album as Melody promised, as well as a few of the band’s older songs, such as “Moden De” and “Awa.”

The title of new album in itself is fair warning of what to expect: Closure.


The band’s new album is also the last. The album launch was as much an opportunity for the band to introduce new songs as it was a chance for them to say goodbye to loyal followers.

The atmosphere was one of exhilaration. It’s been two years since that reunion gig, and almost two decades since the release of the last album that had Melody on vocals. Womb was released in 1998, and Melody migrated to the United States in 2001. It was a long time coming.

Photo by Jill Tan Radovan

Launching Closure wasn’t just a continuation of unfinished business for Sugar Hiccup; a venue to release the songs Melody and Czandro Pollack had written over the years; or a conclusion to the band’s story.

It was a gathering of the old friends from the music scene, and of fans who may haven’t seen them play in decades. It was a night for the band’s most loyal supporters to see them for the last time, and then let go.

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This is not to say that attending the event wasn't rewarding, because it truly was.

It was fun, actually. Dayaw, Alyana Lea Carmela and Veronica & I opened the show. Prank Sinatra—Iman and Czandro’s other band—closed it after Sugar Hiccup’s set, wearing matching shirts and bearing doses of much-needed, light-hearted humor. Iman even said jokingly that they would be called “Drunk Sinatra” thereafter.

Photo by Jill Tan Radovan

Despite Melody’s supposed health concern, it didn’t seem there was anything to be concerned about at all, except perhaps when she would say something at the mic in a throaty voice in between songs.

Melody sang “Angels” as if she was one; while Czandro’s “Dolour” was haunting, in contrast. They lightened the mood on stage a bit with a duet of “Silly” and struck us with awe while performing “Saturnine Nevermore.”

Photo by Jill Tan Radovan

I felt blessed—privileged even—to have been given the chance to attend the event, truly moved when I realized that even after so many years, this band, these artists whom I saw perform maybe twice in my teenage years, are still as talented and as gifted with their new material and rendition of old songs as when I first heard them on the radio a long time ago. I was close to tears with pride, but also a dreaded, saturnine emotion. I knew.

Photo by Jill Tan Radovan

Closure is never easy. When Sugar Hiccup closed the set with “Womb,” I knew that it wasn’t just the set they were putting an end to. It was painful to realize they were still so damn good, and yet, they could no longer continue.

It was closure for the band, and for all of us who attended, too.

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