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Join the Club


Join The Club, a fraternity of four twenty-something seniors, are recruiting OPM-loving listeners who’d want nothing more than to live and learn from the band’s punk-rooted, alternative pop confessions of sullied love.

New initiates may have already been taken by the new band’s chart-climbing hit, “Lunes” which is hungrily devouring air time on FM radio stations across the country. “Matatanggap ba ako/ kung magbabalik sa iyo/ sakit ng sinapit ay/ please ‘wag nang magtampo/ wala man ako nagawa,” sings 23-year old vocalist/ guitarist Biboy Renia is his signature soprano, which is earnest rather than emo-whiny. It’s a fresh, new approach; one that combines the band’s affection for story-telling-adapted from the band’s addiction to campy 70s rock (Cinderella, VST, The Boyfriends, and Company) with Beatle-esque/Beach Boy sounds, indie pop, and punk’s subgenres.

“It’s upbeat, kasi punk-rooted. But it’s ironic because our songs are about love’s fallouts,” explains Biboy, whose eyes are hiding behind his dad’s retro aviator shades. Adds Join the Club’s giddy 21-year old drummer Pao Santiago, “The songs come naturally because these are based on our personal experiences, kaya madaling maka relate sa mga kanta namin.”

That’s right. All 12 songs on their debut album, Nobela, are fuelled by each of the guys’ rather disastrous experiences with the L-word. But they’ve managed to translate all their chest pains into melodious songs energized with sugar-high tempos, strong guitar riffs and soft/loud passages. “Mahiwaga” for instance, was already the infatuation song of choice for bloggers back when they released the cheeky punk pop track in 2001, the year Join the Club was formed.

Over the next two years, a few forays with underground bands with names like Extra Rice and Toilet Kamote, and an eye opening gig in the underground Bulacan punk scene (“Kumbaga pumunta kami sa Holloween party na hindi kami naka costume,” says Congie Lulu, the band’s cute 23-year old bassist, “Pagkatapos n’un, hindi na kami bumalik. Na culture shock kami.”), the college friends soon found themselves joining band competitions. “Win or lose, we were just happy we could play,” says soft-spoken guitarist/back-up vocalist Migs Mendoza. But the band’s perseverance paid off in more tangible ways. Join the Club’s 2003 win in one such competition enabled the guys to record a four-track EP, which soon landed in the lap of Redrum Music’s Guy Ilacad, who signed the fledging band to his upstart label in July 2005 and, together with Warner Music Philippines, enabled Join the Club to put out their emotionally-driven debut album.

Besides the riot of songs, like the scornful, furious and totally enjoyable “Walang Pakialam,” ballads like Mig’s fave, “Emotional Overdose” (“Kwento yan ng ex ko, at saka ako kumanta d’on”) and Biboy’s beloved “Nobela” (“Iyan ang pinaka importanteng kanta sa personal stage ng buhay ko”) also get high marks in the heartache department. “Nobela” even gets a few extra gold stars for its languid, 60s pop feel. You might even say “Nobela” sounds like an excellent anime slow song, only, of course, it’s sung in the Filipino vernacular. We’re sure the serenade scores pretty well with the girls, too: “at aalis, magbabalik/ at uuliting sabihin/ na mahalin ka’t sambahin/ kahit muling masaktan.”

1 comment:

Carla said...

Thanks for writing this.