Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - You know a band is at its peak and having loads of fun when it picks a bubblegum tune like Menudo's "If You're Not Here" and transforms it into a punk anthem.
But that's not the only thing to look forward to in Kamikazee's new CD, "Romantico".
There are 10 original tracks that all rock with the excitement of a one-night rendezvous between a high school gang and their ex-lovers.
It doesn't matter whether the scenarios in the songs really happened. Imagination helps to appreciate their content-all of which explore the volatile nature of romance.
The exuberance of the album opener, "Halik (Kiss)", is countered by the mournful tone of a guy reminiscing about lost love. He takes the blame and we believe him, especially because Jay Contreras sings with earnest vocals.
In contrast, "T.N.T" throbs with sexual tension, its lethal mix of hard-driving punk and metal further heating up the lustful make-out lyrics.
Kamikazee has perfected the art of cranking out rock 'n' roll and holding on to its pop sensibilities-very much apparent in "Tamis (Sweetness)" and "Tagpuan (Meeting Place)", which celebrate teenage love.
The collaboration with pop star Kyla in "Huling Sayaw (Last Dance)" yields positive results, mainly due to the song's savor-the-fleeting-moments scene, the cinematic image of a couple bound by music and a last dance framed by poetry.
The trick of imbibing foreign influences and creating something original finds fruition in most tracks. But the Ramones-like rhythm in "Sana (I Wish)" stands out, a solid backdrop to the song's belief in true love.
It could be weird to hear Kamikazee sans funny lyrics, but here the band appears to have minimised the tendency to tickle our funny bone.
Even so, there is dark humour to "Sobrang Lungkot (Too Much Sadness)," which sounds like a facetious filler because it runs for only 20 seconds, but in reality is a wry look at depression.
Three bonus tracks are acoustic versions of "Halik", "Tagpuan" and "Huling Sayaw"-their chill-out tempos perfect for mulling why this band is a big success.
The most probable reason is that Kamikazee members don't seem to take themselves seriously, just like the band that helped it get into the mainstream, "Parokya ni Edgar".
They even have the same manager, and we suspect they're having a party right now, listening to this album.
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