In the 70-plus gigs that super band Archipelago has played, what is apparent is just how cohesive they actually sound. When talented people group themselves into a collective, the chance that each member will try to outshine one another looms eternal on the horizon. Thankfully Archipelago is the opposite; they don’t sound like a scattered bunch of little islands going off into war against one another.
Archipelago is formed by Yan Yuzon and Wendell Garcia (Pupil), Chad Rialp (Liquid Jane, Tempestuous Jones) and Pat Tirano (Monkeyspank). And their debut album, Travel Advisory, proves that the whole can indeed be greater than the sum of its parts.
Travel Advisory launches with “Black Box,” an upbeat brit-pop rock song, though its lyrics in the end go something like “I will always watch you from afar.” The title track “Travel Advisory” brings a political message to the table, singing about all the travel advisories against our country, which the band thinks are misconstrued. The first Filipino song in the album, “Lumapit” follows next, which for some weird reason, sounds like Yuzon borrowed some singing cues from his brother Yael Yuzon of Spongecola.
As with many of their songs, the next one, “Meteor,” prepares a launch pad with ambient sampled sounds, after which the song breaks into the band’s trademark lively bluesy-rock sound littered with a variety of synthesized sounds.
“May 1,” which is the second single off the album glimpses at the lives of people, with a sense of hope singing “sa bawat oras mo, may himala.” “Gaan,” has a more somber quality to it, with lyrics that go: “At anong gagawin, pag nagawa na ang lahat sa bawat sandali na lumilipas.”