Home­grown band re­leases se­cond al­bum

Rat­ing: 4 out of 5 stars

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Content - A Re­view by Erik Tuban

The se­cond EP re­lease from Man­daue Nights, "Man on the Moon," finds the band ditch­ing its well-re­ceived pop sen­si­bil­i­ties in fa­vor of a more at­mo­spheric, more oth­er­worldly con­cept. On the new al­bum, the duo com­posed of Karl Lu­cente and Gino Ros­ales takes flight, leap­ing into a new cre­ative tra­jec­tory, and true to its ti­tle, ex­plor­ing pre­vi­ously shrouded mu­si­cal ter­ri­to­ries. This is a bold move for the band. By do­ing so, it up­sets the bal­ance of its al­ready well-es­tab­lished sta­tus quo. Man­daue Nights is a synth-pop band known for its pen­chant for pen­ning radio-friendly hits such as "You and I" and "First Kiss." Its newly dis­cov­ered sound might not bode well with its steady fan­base. On the other hand, this is also highly lib­er­at­ing for the band. This proves that there is more to the artists than their catchy hooks and match­ing looks. That they are ca­pa­ble of go­ing be­yond the cus­tom­ary verse-cho­rus-verse ap­proach to song­writ­ing. That they are no mere flash in the pan and not afraid at all to sol­dier on the dreaded sopho­more slump, so to speak. But let's talk about the songs on this al­bum. We im­me­di­ately no­tice that there's not much singing here. And if there is—it doesn't kick in un­til the se­cond part of the se­cond song, "In­side My Head"—it is pretty much an af­ter­thought to the whole al­ready well-de­vel­oped mood of the al­bum rather than it's driv­ing force. "Dear Night Owls" is dense, pro­duc­tion-wise, al­beit am­bling in its at­mo­spheric co­he­sive­ness. In my opin­ion, this is the part where the al­bum cli­maxes and reaches its prover­bial high. But the pièce de ré­sis­tance of this whole un­der­tak­ing is "Still" (fea­tur­ing Cole Gec­on­cillo from the post-rock group ODD), a four-minute breather where the slow mo­tion de­scent from the ec­static be­comes eu­phoric un­til you are trans­ported back to re­al­ity with the fi­nal track, aptly ti­tled "Is It Too Real?” It's the sud­den re­al­iza­tion that time goes back to the present. It's ground con­trol call­ing Ma­jor Tom. "Man on the Moon" is an odd­ity and slightly out of or­bit from the Man­daue Nights cat­a­log, but it's not dif­fi­cult to lis­ten to. In fact, it's strangely beau­ti­ful, like a height­ened ASMR for in­som­ni­acs. So here's an ap­peal to both doubters and die-hard fans of the first EP: just give this one a lis­ten. Af­ter all, what we have a lot right now is time. So why not add a lit­tle bit of space?

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