Truefaith, one of the great Pinoy pop bands of the mid-90’s, returns with new track “Dyahe.”
First off, many Pinoy Gen X’ers know Truefaith’s brand of New Wave-imbued pop. Their hits include “Everything She Wore,” “Alaala,” “Huwag Na Lang Kaya,” and (personal fave) “Perfect.” already ingrained on our collective brains. See, if The Dawn was our answer to U2, then Truefaith would be the Philippine’s equivalent of The Style Council.
Anyway, “Dyahe” (slang for embarrassing) starts out slow but builds to a bouncy tempo. Medwin Marfil, whose voice hasn’t changed a bit, catches the ear right away with these first few lines: “Parang trip kitang tawagan sa tindi ng aking kalasingan / Mga alaala’y bumubuhos sa baso ng aking isipan.”
This is the band’s first single with Viva since the underrated “The Love Parade” in 2009. But Medwin and the band—longtime acoustic guitarist Eugene Marfil, lead guitarist Allan Elgar, keyboardist Jake Lumacad, and the rhythm section of Macky Macaventa (bass) and drummer Kaka Quisumbing—never took a break from the scene. Their most recent full album release was “Sentimental” in 2018.
Since we mentioned the early aughts, we remember it was a time female singer-songwriters first went alternative. Artists such as Barbie Almalbis and Kitchie Nadal got noticed because they differed in sound and style from the mainstream. These days, that sound is the new norm and popular acts like Moira Dela Torre and KZ Tandingan owe a bit of their success to those girls because they paved the way.
Today, acts like Aly Remulla and Zsaris carry on the tradition of bringing singer-songwriter style music with an alternative bent to a listening audience.
Aly’s OC Records debut single “Alon” is the antithesis to the full-blown production ethos of a mainstream pop artist. For her, all it takes is just the stripped-down sounds of her lone guitar, her voice and a heaping of reverb to get her point across. Add the overarching themes of bad relationships and of people drifting apart and you define her aesthetics, at least for the time being.
Zsaris does things on her own. As a live-playing, “looper” (in reference to the device she uses to record and play back sounds in real time) artist, who tends to pile sounds on top of another to get her point across, Zsaris is multi-tasker who sees all the angles.
This artist’s exquisite cover of “Himala” is her path to renown. Still, her consequent releases reveal she can take on mainstream sounding tunes too, as heard on the pop ballad “Kung Alam Mo Lang.” The Los Baños native has been slowly building a catalog of tunes, including the catchy, loop-supported, beat-box framed new single “Kahapon.”
Sabu (Sarah Bulahan) is a prolific songwriter who has steadily released a string of fine-sounding alt-flavored pop starting with 2018’s “Tulog Na.” She has since put out four other singles, each distinctly shows off polished song-crafting. Her latest release “New Season” is yet another tuneful affair. If you like none-tacky, relationship-themed, hook-filled songs, Sabu is your girl.
Last but not least is Martin Riggs (Nuñez). This singer-songwriter makes her debut via the pumping, neo-folk-imbibed, Pinoy alt sounds of “Langit At Dagat.” A folksy worldview coupled with earthy imagery do Riggs well. Think acoustic guitar-totting artists like Rice Lucido and Reese Lansangan, and Martin Riggs hovers between them.