The Beginning Of Something Wonderful
By Paul John Caña
The Manila Times – July 8, 2008
At the Camerawalls’ album launch last week, frontman Clementine started the set with an excerpt from “A Beginning of Something Wonderful”—a song from his old band Orange and Lemons’s first album.
Of course, the irony is not lost on those who were there; Clementine refers to himself as the “unwanted one” in his old group, and that he chose to open with a song from his old band speaks volumes of how he has already come to terms with what happened and that he is now ready to move on with his life. Well, that and the fact that the song itself speaking of the promise of brighter things ahead.
Pocket Guide to The Otherworld is the title of The Camerawalls debut album. The band is a three-piece composed of Clementine, guitarist and chief songwriter, bassist Law Santiago, who incidentally is also Orange and Lemons’ original bassist, and drummer Ian Sarabia. The band was formed soon after the dissolution of OnL, ostensibly due to major creative differences.
It’s not surprising that Clementine, who many say was the driving force behind the music of OnL before, would bounce back after the whole sordid episode with his new band. It’s not easy to bring down a man with his music in his veins. His father was a rondalla instructor and made him and his siblings play, before he discovered the guitar early in his teens. OnL was a success story, a band that started out as an independent group and was launched to superstardom within a few short years. But afterward, it was Clementine’s desire to keep making music, the kind that he loves and is passionate about, that made him trudge on ahead.
After finding the right people to work with, Clementine immediately hunkered down and started writing songs for his new band. “The major difference now is the songwriting,” he says. “I try to be different this time. It’s not the usual theme of love and sex, not your typical concepts. We’re writing songs about moving on and changing jobs, about the bad people in the world; about medical wonders, and reincarnation. We felt there are so many interesting things we could write about. We want to be socially relevant. At the same time, we felt that our music should be more personal.”
Ian says their music is an amalgam of all of their primary influences injected with their own Pinoy sensibilities. “It’s impossible to describe. It’s got a bit of rock, a bit of blues. Something going back to New Wave. It’s got all them sounds put together.”
The product of “nine months of writing and recording, mixing and testing,” Pocket Guide reflects the band’s extensive musical palate. At the launch last week, friends and fans, both old and new, crowded around Clud Dredd to hear the band play songs off the album, plus a few covers from The Smiths and their primary influence, the Beatles. It was a vindication of sorts for Clementine, who saw his old cohorts regroup to form the new band Kenyo and release a debut album of safe, middle-of-the road covers of 80s songs.
The Camerawalls strikes us as the band with the sound that OnL might have had if they had continued on and Clementine had had his way. But things rarely ever work out the way people plan them, and for now, with Kenyo enjoying mainstream success and The Camerawalls playing to a far smaller, more fastidious audience, we’d like to think that everybody is happy everything turned out just as it should be.
The Camerawalls’ debut album, Pocket Guide to The Otherworld, under Clementine’s own Lilystars Records and is now available through the band’s MySpace Music account at http://www.myspace.com/thecamerawalls and their official website at http://www.thecamerawalls.com.