If you’ve never had the unusual and delightful pleasure of flying and dancing at the same time, then you don’t know what you’re missing.
I finally got my hands on a copy of The Kuwagos’ new album Lagi Sa Kama, and that is what it did to me on the first listen. It made me dance first, and then, before I knew what was happening, I was flying.
I mean, on the inside, anyway. But if I could Icarus myself a pair of wings, I’d strap those babies on, hit “repeat play” on this album, and take off for the friendly skies. Hello, sun, I’m coming to see you, propelled by The Kuwagos’ kick-assness.
The Bergenfield, N.J.-based Filipino-American (Fil-Am) rock band released Lagi Sa Kama (Soulworks Records) on February 20, 2010, a date that will go down in the history of Filipino-American music.
Fans and friends have been waiting 3 years for the band’s second album to come out, after The Kuwagos made a cannonball of a splash in the Fil-Am music scene, turning heads and eliciting warm-hearted laughter with the tongue-in-cheek humor in their self-titled debut album (The Kuwagos, Soulworks Records), which launched in January 2007. The first album captured the attention and imagination of Fil-Am music fans as it humorously and insightfully depicted the daily struggles and challenges that immigrant Filipinos face in the United States.
The band’s trademark fun, quirky, yet straightforward music sensibility shines through on Lagi Sa Kama as well. With this 7-track album, there is a more relaxed feel where the band takes the time to sculpt each song with a more careful, discerning ear than before.
From the bluesy yet staccato beat-laced opening rock number “Hotdeng Darling” to the sexy, laid-back English-Tagalog mixed title song “Lagi Sa Kama”, The Kuwagos exhibit wittiness and keen intelligence in their song crafting. My favorite track on the album, hands down, is the beautiful “Halik”, an ethereal and utterly lovely creation reminiscent to me of The Cure or Erasure, lending credence to the notion that The Kuwagos are far more than just your average garage rock band.
Each element in the album, from frontman Gatchie Ignacio’s clear, distinctive vocals and steady basslines, to drummer Marc Lacsamana’s well-placed beats and military precision, to lead guitarist Mark Anthony (Cho) Lopez’s catchy, addictive riffs has been treated with care and love. The result: a collection of organically progressive songs that stretch far beyond the band’s initial punk rock inclination.
For once, and this has never happened to me before, I find myself loving every single song in an album. There is not one track in the Lagi Sa Kama album that I can willingly skip over, nor do I. From start to finish, it is a feast for the ears, mind, and heart.
Oh, and if you’re a little behind on your Tagalog, now would be a good time to brush up on it, or learn the language for the first time. Lagi Sa Kama is sung almost entirely in Tagalog, with the exception of English lyrics in the title track, “Lagi Sa Kama”.
Review by Feliza Mirasol