Having just read the magazine articles on Narda’s official Multiply site, I decided to turn on to the older songs this Sunday morning at work from the band whose demise will be realized on April 14. That move proved to be apt for the moment, since as much as I consider their latest record, Discotillion, to be the group’s best effort, the old EP’s still spew delightful pop songs to bob your head to.
A re-invention must be the word the press wants to impress on the readers for Narda’s current mold. I won’t go into that anymore, since the articles (here and here) have expounded on it already; what struck me most were comparisons to their old sound to The Cardigans and The Sundays. I am impressed by older albums by the former, but Harriet Wheeler’s band (the latter) has, easily, nailed itself firmly on my perpetual favorite bands list. That said, having owned all of Narda’s early EP’s, I haven’t drawn a line connecting the Narda dot to any other known band, moreso their local contemporaries.
Let me start properly now: my curiosity for Narda stemmed from random Livejournal blog entries proclaiming how hawt the lead singer of this Ateneo-based band was, and that their records are available at Sarabia Optical, at the UP Shopping Center. One fateful afternoon at my old alma mater, lead to an evening on my computer when I dived unconsciously into unheard-of fanboy-ism.
Raw and pleasant were the acoustic songs from the Burador EP (2003), though that was my least played record from their discography. Not necessarily their weakest, since the ditties do meet happy campfire standards, with the sweet lovers’ song ‘Ang Gabi‘ leading the pack; but it was obvious that the Narda voice needs a lift to somewhere else, where she can be mighty.
Salaguinto’t Salagubang (September 2003) was an unabashed pinoy indie-rock record. I’ll hold this one as a good band primer, and the unfinished collection before the band’s first full-length album, Formika. Standouts were the rock radio hit ‘Jaywalker‘, and ‘Saan Na?‘. Easily catch the shoegazing, and low-fi influences here.
For my otherwise fickle palette, however, the A Postcard From (October 2002) and Suwerte (December 2002) EPs are the undeniable keepers, Narda’s first and second, respectively. ‘Suwerte‘ and ‘Tanga‘ from the Suwerte EP, and ‘Crime-Fighting Mama‘ and ‘Kusina‘ from the A Postcard From Narda EP, are must-listens to any serious fan of the band, as they should easily find their places to the list of the most wonderful pop gems to come out from the local post-90s indie music scene.
I’ve said this before, but I’d like to point it out again: Narda has transcended the practiced indie-pop standards that dominated the band scene around their EP and Formika days, when name-dropping X foreign band (Club 8? a forgotten New Wave band? a bossa-nova + electronic group from the once-formidable Siesta label?) was needed to claim prestige.
In sum, in true-fan fashion, I therefore conclude this post that a sound re-discovery should be in order, for this band that I’ve surprisingly grown to adore, and actually bother to write about and document through photos. Come on, its not time to sulk in a corner and lament on this; do that during their last gig, when its forgivable.