There’s really nothing Narda can apologize for on their new CD, Formika. Katwo still sings like she’s spewing mint candy, and the band shows they have what it takes to dish pop music 60s star Lulu can dance and sing to, or rock out with someone like Sarah Shannon (of Velocity Girl), and show no mercy to the effects pedals.
Been a fan since I bought all of their four previous EP’s in one sweep. The vintage-sounding jangly guitars, helpless Bettie Serveert-like vocals, and the ever-so-rare smart use of Tagalog lyrics, collectively taken, was delightfully refreshing, like it was that oh-so-familiar, can’t-put-my-finger-on-it originality you didn’t search out for, but found nonetheless. The slew of current indiepop acts were shameful Siesta band clones compared to Narda.
On their first full-length album, its easy to sustain your attention on effectively blended electric, joyous ditties (Hudas Not Pay, 1-800-HEY), with pensive love dedications (Kometa Astrolabe, Nico, Disquiet). What’s not surprising at all is how Narda can pull off the ambitious Lipad (theme from Darna), a dark, hopeful ode, slightly enhanced by a string section. Imagine how apt it is to hear it while the credits roll on an actual Darna movie. Or Regine Velasquez singing her own version.
Count the handclaps, search for the moog-like organ effects, and see if you can do second voice to Katwo. They’re slightly out-of-the-box this time, but most definitely, Narda is back, and still is the same wonder girl who doesn’t need a costume to impress.