Last March 4, Filipino rock band Sandwich launched their sixth studio album Contra Tiempo with a concert that rocked Eastwood City.
Sandwich is composed of Raimund Marasigan (lead vocals/keyboards), Myrene Academia (bass guitar), Mong Alcaraz (guitars), Diego Castillo (guitars), and Mike Dizon (drums).
Mong Alcaraz shared that the album name came upon them when they were coming up with a series of non sequiturs while they were enjoying some downtime in Palawan. “Contra Tiempo” roughly translates to “going against the grain”. The album name can also be heard in the song Sulputin.
The album consists of all Filipino songs. According to Raimund Marasigan, they wondered how other bands found it easy to write Filipino songs, and so they took it as a challenge to write songs in Filipino.
As music lovers, they took it upon themselves to make sure that there is a progression in the music they make, that they are moving forward musically. The band refused to be stagnant. Listening to a lot of music and travelling enriched them. While touring after their 2008 album <S> Marks the Spot, they honed their craft. The tours even helped them become better performers. Their gigs in smaller venues were also important to them, since they were able to test how people will react to the new songs they were writing.
Of course, not all songs that they have written made it to the new album. There are considerations to make. The band wanted to make sure that the tracks that made it into the album made their toes curl. (I assure you, a toe-curling experience is something that literally happens when you listen to really good music.)
Besides being music lovers, there’s a certain aura of strong friendship that can be felt from the band. It’s like they have known each other since they were babies. The dynamics between them seem to be part-barkada and part-brothers-and-sister. I have always thought that this was a necessary element for any group to come up with a distinct sound, which is what you would get when you listen to all the songs from the new album. There’s a unity to the album. The songs all work together to make listening to the full album enjoyable.
1. Lapit! Lapit! Lapit!
5. Pera Pera
NOTE: There was an error in printing, and so the album cover listed Dispalinghado as track 4 instead of the actual fourth track, which is Stranded.
Contra Tiempo includes Putik, a song inspired by the effects of the typhoon Ondoy when it wreaked havoc in the Philippines. As such, the song made it into the airwaves even before the album reached completion.
Lakad is also a single from Contra Tiempo with a music video directed by Jason Magbanua. Jason Magbanua also directed that beautiful pre-nuptial video for Maggie Wilson and Victor Consunji.
Their next single is Pera Pera, the fifth track from Contra Tiempo. The song was written as an observation of how Filipinos flock to television stations in hopes of getting into game shows. As the band has put it, it made lining up for a game show almost seem like a religious experience. The band will be shooting a music video for this song very soon (I’ll post it as soon as it is available online).
I am not immersed very deeply into the rock scene, be it local or international. But that doesn’t mean I can’t not like rock songs. So here are a few notes about a few of the songs I have marked as my favorites in the album:
Lapit! Lapit! Lapit! – I love how the singing starts almost a minute and a half after the music starts playing. And I find it appropriate to be the first track in the album.
Takbo – Even if I didn’t know the song title, I would have guessed that the song is trying to tell me about a chase. Even the guitars gave me a sense of running and jumping over some objects that are in the way.
Bisikleta – The song title is Filipino for “bicycle”. I don’t know how to ride a bike. Nor do I know how to drive a car, but the song is something I can imagine myself listening to while on a road trip. There’s a certain young and carefree feel to the song that makes me think of playing mataya-taya in the bukid with friends. Although I usually like my rock music hard, I find myself really liking the casualness of this song.
Dispalinghado – This music from this song matches exactly the way I feel when I wake up Sunday afternoon after getting way too drunk on a Saturday night. There’s that tinge of disappointment or regret I hear when I listen to the guitars and the drums of this song.