If we are to mention one good thing about this pandemic, then it would be the copious amount of time it afforded the creative types.
If anything, social distancing and getting cooped up indoors got some musicians going and digging deep.
Such is the case with This Band.
Before the pandemic hit, the group was among the busiest in the biz with gigs left, right and center. When COVID-19 struck, the band, like all the rest of their ilk, ground to a halt as far as live shows went.
But for This Band – singer Andrea Manzano, songwriter-rhythm guitarist Euwie Von Loria, keyboardist Melvin Carson, drummer John Macaranas, bassist Miccael Galvan and lead guitarist Raymat Gubat—the time afforded them by the lockdown was just the situation they needed to be able to start writing songs again. This resulted in their first-ever album titled “Huwag Matakot.”
Recorded almost entirely at their makeshift home studio, The album is a re-introduction to This Band. That they’re more that just about “hugot” themed hits. That primarily, they are a tight pop rock unit that can get the adrenaline going as well.
They’ve hinted at this with their past releases, but more so with “Sinungaling Ka,” which rocks harder than their usual. And unsurprisingly, the style fits them well.
It also sets us up for other rockers on the set, like the mid-tempo power ballad “Aalis Ka Rin,” which is among the best on the selection. Ditto for album closer “Huwag Matakot” which builds up to a crescendo in a way that would make any alt-rock band nod their head in approval.
Pretty-sounding “Kaya Sorry Na” is a key track that finds This Band stretching their style a bit towards a minor-key blues sounding progresssion but still sounding so pop in it.
One only need to see the song titles on this album to have an inkling as to what it’s all about. And if you’re thinking love and heartbreak, then you are right. These are themes that songwriter Euwie Von Loria excels at and it’s at the heart of songs like “Bakit Ganon,” and “’Di Susuko.”
But Euwie’s songwriting manages to stand out by focusing on the uncertainty of relationships. A virtual relationship’s no-man’s-land that his songs’ characters usually find themselves in, in which he paints so perfectly on a song like “No Label.”
As for Andrea Manzano, this little firecracker of a singer is the messenger that amplifies these messages of heartbreak and regret.
If you’re a hardcore fan of This Band, this collection won’t disappoint.