All is Fair at Dey Rose’s Fair

More than a love letter to her childhood in the motherland, the new standalone single from the Vancouver singer-songwriter is, put simply, guitar pop done right.

We’ve kept our gaze locked on Dey Rose for a while now, and she consistently delivers. The crux of all opinion on her has been the Panting Heart EP, and—with the possible exception of her brilliant track for In Reverie—nothing much else. But when she first sent me a working demo of what was going to be “Mahiwagang Tsubibo,” her first new offering outside her maiden release, I realized she’s still as serious as a coronary.

Co-written with her musician father over booze one night, it’s both a paean to innocence and a latent migrant story, and at its center is the Pinoy perya in all its jagged, broken, barriotic glory. “[It’s about forgetting your current blues] and going back to more peaceful moments in life: simple, light, carefree,” the Vancouver-based cabalen tells me, painting a picture of Ferris wheels and a smattering of loved ones from a not-so-distant past. With pensive couplets like “Halina sa lumang tsubibo / Lisanin natin ang mundo,” you know she’s bent on going inward while, also, musically going all out.

Portrait by William Orsua | Concept by Dey Rose | Layout by AJ Madronio

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And even if thinly-veiled autobiography isn’t your cupof tea, there is much to love in the performance, the arrangement, and—as always in any Dey Rose material—the production, which in this case mounts a new peak. The synth bed (courtesy of Ameer Corro) is tastefully ornate, and the ace fretwork (delivered by Alvin Brendan) is a masterclass in economy. And, on top of it all—though at this point I know Dey wouldn’t settle for duds in studio-craft, being an audio pro herself—Kaj Falch Nielsen’s rich mix simply brought out the best in the elements.

It’s guitar pop done right: a cyclical melody able to amble through labyrinthine layers; a vocal performance that’s painful but never pained; a song structure that mirrors its subject matter’s wistful escape.

“As [someone who] openly admits that I am still finding my sound, this track definitely feels like it hits close to home,” Dey shares, adding, “[What] I create goes along with the shifting tides, all while keeping a sense of home and trueness—and I feel that [here].”

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