Sunflower Station’s new single demonstrates their abilities as indie tunesmiths, instrumentalists, and recordists of the first order.
What I invariably do, when faced with new output from a band I’ve critiqued before, is check what I’ve said about them the first time around.
When it still applies—when the cookie crumbles the same way, and all that—I reprise my appraisal.
But when it no longer does, I puncture holes in my old assertions, which can (if I’m being honest) become a tangled tango of self-doubt and self-blame. Like, “I should have known better,” or, “Why the fuck did I not see that before?”
In the case of Sunflower Station and their new single, the old hallmarks remain: “an agreeable [sense of melody] that’s like a face in the crowd,” “a welcoming, open, and calming presence that neither confronts nor defies,” “harmonious instrumentation that’s easily like a warm embrace.”
“Walang Dahilan” sports all of these in great measure, demonstrating Sunflower Station’s abilities as indie tunesmiths, instrumentalists, and recordists of the first order. They may not be kings of that order—at least not yet, being a band still in creative flux—but damn it, they’ve got a shot at it.
A paean to regret and what-could-have-beens, the track in question used to carry the working title “Andromeda,” a sort of wink-nudge Easter Egg for fans, being that it’s an informal companion piece to prior track “Milky Way.”
In the end, the more foolproof Filipino title (“Walang Dahilan”) triumphed. And speaking of wins, what a win this song is in their discography thus far. Always teetering on the edge of vanilla, Sunflower Station tugs harder this time around, spinning an Ang Bandang Shirley-type yarn that lingers and chews away at the heart of things.
“A long-overdue and supposedly last song that our previous band The Bed Bites worked on, we started [crafting] the song during the pandemic, while we were all in quarantine,” the band shared, adding that initial arrangement sessions were conducted via Zoom with former collaborator Ja Ayong, but that the song was eventually rearranged with Sam Carlos at the mic.
Along with Carlos, singer-guitarist Jany Ligutan, guitarist Don Davis Pido, bassist Jay Fernandez, and drummer Neil Yap help deliver the goods. In their unabashedly unflashy (but more-than-able) hands, “Walang Dahilan” is rendered a sweetness that’s grounded and self-aware.
“Lilibutin ang sanlibutan / Handang makita at muling masaktan,” goes a gorgeous couplet from the tune. It’s painfully real in a self-flagellating way, but the band coats it well so it goes down easy. That’s kind of what pop is all about.
Catch the WALANG DAHILAN single launch at Mow’s happening on Saturday, March 4. Performances by: Ang Bandang Shirley, FABLES, Balaraw, Parasouls, Sunflower Station, and Jetcoaster. Pre-show starts at 8PM by Cheska and Benchfly.