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The Blues Sounds Good In Pinoy Hands

The Philippine Daily Inquirer – September 7, 2009
by Bert B. Sulat Jr.

Pocket Guide To The Otherworld
The Camerawalls
Lilystars Records

This 10-track disc is a sweetly engaging confection—further evidence of the songwriting talent of vocalist-instrumentalist-chief composer Clementine (a.k.a. Clem Castro of the defunct Orange and Lemons).

Among other things, he pulls off a catchy chorus—or morbid verse, if you will—out of “Clinically Dead for 16 Hours.” He also has the bright sense to set Jose Rizal’s “Canto de Maria Clara” to music, with Clementine himself crooning the Spanish verses and playing a banduria.

There’s just a distraction. The young Filipino artist is still bent on aping the “gentle,” melancholic bands of the New Wave era, such as The Care, The Smiths and The Colourfield. Technically, nothing wrong with feeding our proclivity for the ’80s—a decade that, for all its embarrassing details, produced a lot of pop gems. We just suspect that Clementine’s rather retro-indulgent veneer actually masks the true artist that, his songs suggest, lurk within him.

For all we know, this could really be all there is to Clementine and the rest of the trio that is The Camerawalls. But then, it would be worth staying tuned to see if they would be, as one track in the album goes, “Changing Horses Midstream,” stylistically speaking.

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