The familiar jangle, the sing-song accessibility, the reverb-laden mix, the dreamlike sonics. Sunflower Station is back to form in their new outing
Time passing. The desire to arrest it. The ensuing confusion when you couldn’t. The mindfulness borne of the enterprise.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
If the first impulse of speech is to name things, then what of song? Song is essentially hypersensitized speech, which makes music more than an artful exercise; in this sense it’s a deliberate stab at making sense of the world: naming it, framing it, flaming it.
You probably won’t be reminded of any of these things when you first spin Sunflower Station’s new single “Tinig,” but it’s crystal.
The tune’s midtempo Manila Sound stylings are as wallpaper as wallpaper gets, but more than being purposeful, it’s inspired (and inspiring) wallpaper. It’s wallpaper that invites you to partake in the immersive, tragicomic here-and-now-ness of everything.
“[It’s] about finding that spark again: about searching for something or someone that [once] gave you joy and light, and wanting to go back to that feeling,” the band speaks of the song in an advance release.
“Tinig” won’t be out of place in a playlist alongside tracks from Men I Trust and Mac DeMarco, sure, but it will also do swimmingly in a proto-twee retrospective of local stalwarts such as (“Inspiration”-era) Hotdog and (any-era) Cinderella.
I’ve had the pleasure of taking apart previous works by singer-keyboardist Sam Carlos, singer-guitarist Jany Ligutan, guitarist Don Davis Pido, bassist Jay Fernandez, and drummer Neil Yap, and while my repeated allusions to their seeming lack of innovation may strike the reader as uncharitable, allow me to say that this very quality is, also, their chink-less armor: the familiar jangle, the sing-song accessibility, the reverb-laden mix, the dreamlike sonics.
It’s like a favorite tattered shirt; worn to oblivion but infinitely comforting. The reverse, I find, is also true: infinitely comforting precisely because it’s worn to oblivion.
“The song speaks to the character of the band itself,” the group adds, taking the nomenclature tack and mapping the genesis of their band name as being “a safe haven where we can be gleeful or melancholic at the same time.”
“Hinahanap ang liwanag tuwing nag-iisa / Maglalakbay pauwi sa ‘yo,” they sing. And though it’s our knee-jerk tendency to pin the second-person pronoun to a hypothetical love, it can also be a reference to clarity itself.
In many respects, the tune is consistent with the group’s idealized characterization as provider of respite, as modern escapists that are wont to find sublimity in “even the most mundane things that life can offer.”
But enough of my yapping. Listen and let the sunflowers bloom.