The Camerawalls’ Pocket Guide To The Otherworld
SOUNDS FAMILIAR By Baby A. Gil
The Philippine Star - August 15, 2008
Orange & Lemons went sour a year ago. It was then when the members of one of the most talented bands in recent times came to an ugly parting of ways due to what they termed as creative differences. It was regrettable because Orange & Lemons was responsible for big hits like Pinoy Ako, Abot Kamay, Hanggang Kailan (Umuwi Ka Na Baby), Heaven Knows, Yakap Sa Dilim and others.
Orange & Lemons members Mcoy Fundales, JM del Mundo and Ace del Mundo formed a new group named Kenyo and released Radiosurfing, an album of covers early this year. Now the parting with his bandmates might have been unpleasant but it is now clear that Clem Castro, the one who was seemingly left out in the cold, did not wallow in self-pity these past years. Clem, who once shared vocals, guitars and songwriting chores with McCoy, also formed his own band has recently also come up with their first CD.
The band is named Camerawalls and has four members Ian Sarabia on drums; Law Santiago, bass; and Clem, who now wants to be known as Clementine, vocals and guitars. The first album is titled Pocket Guide to the Other World. I do not know if it can really serve as a guide to something and I believe that a song like Lizards Hiding Under Rocks requires a special skill that Clem does not possess. Barring that though, the Pocket Guide is a solid production of well-written songs and clever arrangements that is definitely better than most band fare we get from the locals nowadays.
Pocket Guide is a pop music feast. I hear rock, blues, New Wave, etc. Curiously it reminds of the old album Dinosaur, which contains the classic Try a Little Suicide. Pocket Guide though has a lighter feel, thanks mainly to Clem’s easy singing and takes a more innovative approach to materials. Come to think of it, it is not only innovative, fearless is how I would describe Clem and his friends. Do you know of any band around who would include something like Canto de Maria Clara in its song lineup? This is Jose Rizal’s Maria Clara’s Song and it is in Pocket Guide with a new melody. And if you think that quite daring then you should brace yourselves for more. Camerawalls performs the song in Spanish.
It would be great if it happens but I do not think Canto de Maria Clara would land in any local hit list soon. No need for Camerawalls to worry though because Pocket Guide includes several strong singles that should easily make the charts. Clinically Dead for 16 Hours is one. Love You Natalie and Changing Horses Midstream are two more. If you take the time to listen you might find your hits among Markers of Beautiful Memories, Lord of the Flies, I Ignore My Weakness Don’t Ignore Me, The Emperor The Concubine & The Commoner and Solitary North Star.
My warm welcome goes out to Camerawalls. Now I know where Orange & Lemons got the idea of using bandurias and octavinas in its music.