“Lamán” is an encouraging portent of things to come. It tells us, listeners from the ‘90s—but also beyond that—that these guys aren’t out to recycle old motifs and rest on old laurels.
You’ve probably heard the news.
Unlikely collaborators Melody del Mundo (erstwhile singer for Sugar Hiccup), Wolf Gemora (former drummer for Wolfgang), and guitar whiz Robin Nievera (who’s now chosen to go by the mononym Nievera) have put out new music together as The Mellow Dees.
Their first single “Lamán,” out today, is an encouraging portent of things to come. It tells us, listeners from the ‘90s—but also beyond that—that these guys aren’t out to recycle old motifs and rest on old laurels. It tells us that they’re fuck-all when it comes to their individual legacies, that they’re more concerned about songcraft rather than being on the greatest-hits circuit.
The past casts pretty long shadows, for sure, but the future can shine a light bright enough the figures are visible as they are, and in their own skin. And this is the juncture Del Mundo and Gemora—to an extent, also Nievera, though he is some years their junior—are at now: middle age, a gargantuan past behind them, and very potent musical tendencies that have somehow been tamed by time, temperature, and circumstance.
The line they’re going with is that they’re a “lounge punk” act, a concurrent paradox and misnomer, although, unlike a cushioned blow or a dulled blade, they still display the same potency of old.
What’s curious about “Lamán” is its Filipino-ness: tinges of Hispanic and Mediterranean are thrown in, certainly, but without the rococo accoutrements. With a bit of reggae, a drop of island pop, a helping of kundiman (traditional Filipino folk ballad), the single sees a band cognizant of its roots but also dead set on innovation.
Describing the track as a “a serenade with a different approach,” the band further shares that the tune is “definitely a break from the usual,” being “a heavier and more upbeat track.”
Nievera’s tones hark back to Page’s on “D’yer Mak’er,” with the self-sustaining bravado of Andy Summers, if you can imagine that; and Gemora does a really satiating pre-chorus roll that’s tasteful but also show-ready, you can picture it cuing some ‘90s-style pogoing.
Del Mundo, of course, retains those powerful-but-never-overpowering pipes, legendary for a good reason and untouched by the waxing and waning of phases and trends.
“Lamán”—as well as a second single in December, and the forthcoming full-length record that carries both—is being distributed by Lilystars Records in Manila.
Of this exciting new collaboration, label head Clem Castro (Orange & Lemons, The Camerawalls, Dragonfly Collector) says, “It’s a welcome bit of happenstance to be working with legends in the local music scene. Surely a generation I can relate with, as it reminds me of my youth as a music fan.”
As for the band, they’re modest about the undertaking, saying, “We are here to just share the songs we created: to touch people who love music and meaningful songs.”