By Aldus Santos
Cagayan de Oro’s Annalogue plays loud. They’re no multi-hyphenates, no polymaths. Just guitar-toting people with an appetite for overdrive at banger volumes. Nothing too extreme. No thundering blast beats. No Marilyn Manson theater. And it’s not an obtuse kind of noise either; these are, in plain truth, pleasant tunes with brooding verses and big choruses, whose arguable datedness makes them oddly refreshing. For a listenership that’s gotten infantilized by half-spoken, barely-there confessionals hardly worthy of Plath, a collection like All is Said and Done is like a good kick in the shins.
The band’s six-song debut launches today (August 29) via Cebu-based independent label Melt Records, a decade-old music and art collective with a sizable (and still-growing) roster. If you’re looking for the pulse of the South, this is as good a place as any to put your finger on. And in the case of Annalogue, that pulse spells a certain bursting-at-the-seams bigness. That feeling of space carries with it a gush of euphoria, evident in advance singles “Solaris” and “Lest We Forget,” where the rhythms are unflagging and the singing unabashedly celebratory.
I was engaged in an extended Twitter back-and-forth about the band Muse yesterday, and one recurring theme in the exchange is an appreciation for the manufactured-ness of it all: the universe-spanning story arcs; the esoteric, classical-leaning scales; the thundering mixes that probably qualify as mini-earthquakes by themselves. Basically, the rock-out nerve of the entire enterprise. And while that scale is something I sense Annalogue is fast approaching—and isn’t that approach always more exciting than the actual arrival?—the irony is the smallness of the stories nestled within them, stories which mostly have to do with personal upheavals rather than, say, overthrowing fascist governments.
All is Said and Done is a record for people who dig this storied (but tragically hackneyed) idiom. And what I mean is this: while the songs don’t do much for me as distinct pieces of music, I recognize them as genuine contributions to a heaving, breathing canon. The songs sport a badge that harken to a village. A pretty damn exciting and vital village, to be fair. I imagine that hearing a ballsy tune like “Man-Up” live would coax me into some involuntary flailing; and I feel the kick-snare hits that start “Bones” will have me flashing the horns (and pocketing them almost immediately).
Ira Quirante’s crunchy guitar tones and always-raucous attack are worth writing home about. So is Tatski Lagrosas’ droning low end, especially on standout track “Interlude.” The mix is way more than serviceable, and, as with other aspects of the record, it does a mighty fine job of gluing together disparate pieces of a burgeoning alt-rock/nu-metal monolith. Arkyoo Quirante certainly holds her own at the mic, but one hopes her pipework will appear on more nuanced material in the future. As it stands, she packs a wallop without putting up much of a fight. She’s not faultless, but she’s definitely someone you’d want to look up in, say, a live festival setting. Rounding it up is drummer Kara Nery, a more-than-able player whose ability to further rouse the band’s already-rousing material is a good portent of things to come.
Buy the record on physical here. Otherwise stream it below.