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A Formidable EP From The Camerawalls

by Kap Maceda Aguila
The Philippine Star | March 22, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – The first time I heard Bread and Circuses, the banner track from the new Camerawalls album of the same name, it was at an obscure rehearsal studio in the bowels of Cubao. The drum kit was a little ratty; the room old and tried — certainly not the kind of establishment you’d expect a name band like the Camerawalls to practice.

After a cup of coffee at the mini-store out front, bandleader Clem “Clementine” Castro let me sit in for a couple of songs on the drummer’s throne (and I did so nervously) to jam with him and bassist Law Santiago. Later, new drummer Joseph Rudica took over and the three-piece began to practice in earnest for a gig the next day.

Bread and Circuses has a period, almost epic feel to it — all three minutes, eight seconds of it. The writing is vintage Clementine — catchy and with a pop sensibility by way of ‘80s new wave.

I’m tired of being fed with bread and circuses. This world, it seems so incredibly conservative. With passion like mine, will you gravely read my stone when I should die?

If there was any worry that the second Camerawalls effort would suffer from the dreaded sophomore curse, the Bread and Circuses EP should put that to rest.

Perhaps the only thing you could lament about this effort is just that it’s only an EP. Six songs long (actually, the sixth is merely a piano version of second track My Life’s Arithmetic Means.

Still you could glean an evolution of the Camerawalls sound — or production.

When prodded for the concept, Clementine says there was no overarching concept. “We simply relied on materials we pulled out of our sleeves, with the hope that they would fit together in an album.”

Well, to be honest, the songs do, and the lushness of the tracks show a growth that distinguishes this from the first album Pocket Guide to the Otherworld. “The richer production came in naturally during the recording process when I told my producers we were willing to experiment.”

It also helps to have friends; Clementine rustled up some musician friends such as former Dawn guitarist Francis Reyes to session — adding layers and counterpoints to the material that make it more engaging and more of an earful to listen to.

As for the length, well it’s cheaper to release five songs than 10, right? Economics aside, the new EP is a steal.

To promote the new release, Clementine says Camerawalls is making plans for “local and regional tours to reach more music fans.” While they’re at it, Clementine reveals, that plans are afoot to come up with an “ambitious” double album this year. “One would be in Filipino; the other in English,” he said.

Here’s wishing the double album would materialize — and soon.

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