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Posts tagged ‘jo poblete’

As Long As The Song Goes On, Sea Horses by The Gentle Isolation

February 27, 2013

Jo Poblete

The Gentle Isolation (TGI) appears to have turned a corner with their latest single, a cover of “Sea Horses” by Blueboy. Despite their deceptively laissez-faire attitude towards gigging – hey, it’s hard to commit when your lead guitar-man has gone AWOL – the band has been quietly making music, sight unseen. And if you listen very closely, you sense a new confidence in the way they deliver their twee-fied version of indie pop.

“Sea Horses” has been in the band’s repertoire for a while now, with a demo already recorded last year. TGI is releasing the finished single as a tribute to the late Keith Girdler, vocalist of Blueboy, who passed away in 2007 due to cancer. Blueboy, which formed in 1989, was but one of Girdler’s projects; the original “Sea Horses” is from Blueboy’s 1992 album, If Wishes Were Horses.

Sea Horses - The Gentle Isolation

Cover Art by Justine Basa

It’s a beach tune, another spotless afternoon kind of tune, the kind of song you want playing when you’re off to an adventure with your mates, cares be damned. TGI has made their cover version even more joyous than the original – quite fitting, given that Girdler’s friends have noted how he had wanted to be remembered with “happiness and smiles.”

TGI, which currently is made up of bassist Monch Cristobal, vocalist Ness Urian, and drummer Bach Rudica, ropes in Clementine  (also their label manager and singer-songwriter of The Camerawalls, which Rudica is also member of) to play guitar this time around. The song is guitar-driven – more often than not a note held on a consistently strumming string, while the drums keep apace and then signal a change. The foursome switch up the tempo almost on a whim, from a running start to a slow glide and back again, but there’s a control there that the listener can appreciate.

One is treated to stronger vocals from Urian, who seems to be over any hesitancy or shyness usually plaguing a first-time singer. Instead of mimicking Girdler’s hushed murmur or Gemma Townlet’s strident, almost defiant, falsetto, Urian keeps it steady. There’s a conviction and a confidence in her delivery of the lyric, “don’t cry / don’t sigh / there’s more to me than you think.”

Of course, lyrics are incidental for this particular tune. Never mind those cryptic references to a love lying “bleeding on rain-soaked beaches” (yes, more than one beach is being bled upon, after the rain) and a certain Steven “writing” and “writhing” (pun intended) – who is Steven, we don’t know, and we don’t really care. The beauty of The Gentle Isolation channeling Blueboy is that it’s easy to get lost in the music. Steven can go on bleeding, rose petals can keep shedding, as long as the song goes on.

Download Sea Horses for FREE at

Words and Music by Blueboy

Produced by Clementine
Engineered and Recorded at Sonic State Audio by Robert Javier and Chrisanthony Vinzons
Mixed and Mastered at Sonic State Audio by Jonathan Ong

Recorded and Performed by The Gentle Isolation
Ness Urian – vocals
Monch Cristobal – bass / acoustic guitar
Bach Rudica – drums

Electric guitars recorded and performed by Clementine

Cover Art by Justine Basa inspired by The Blue Boy (c. 1770) an oil painting by Thomas Gainsborough

Special thanks to Gary Sansom of Dufflecoat Records

“Pretty Loser” by Sheila and the Insects, an Ode to Unrequited Love

January 9, 2013

Jo Poblete

Fans of Sheila and the Insects (SATI) may choke on their drinks and swallow their tongues upon hearing “Pretty Loser,” the newest single from the alternative pop group. At the very least, the song will not fail to snag one’s attention, while putting one’s back up.

Leave it to SATI to break their lingering silence with an anti-love song. (Not counting solo efforts in between, their prior single came out in 2008, whereas their last album, Flowerfish, was released in 2005.) Twenty one years in the music circuit, off and on, has not mellowed the band. They still sound as belligerent as punks, with a light coating of jaded sophistication.



“Pretty Loser” has the snappy drumbeat, edgy guitars and snarky lyrics – “If by chance you end up alone, well/ I think I might take you in for free/ … You’re such a loser but I don’t mind” – that one has come to expect from SATI. It’s their version of an “ode to unrequited love” (but one could also interpret it as giving unrequited love the middle finger).

If the song sounds a bit familiar, SATI started playing “Pretty Loser” in gigs back in 2005, after the release of Flowerfish (remember “Quick to Panic” and the mild insult “You don’t turn me on?”). An early version of the song was recorded sometime in April 2010 at Zzubu Recording Studios with Paul Cañada, intended for inclusion in a possible EP or full album.

The band, however, fell off-track (hence the rumors that they had disbanded) and the single was shelved until Ian Zafra decided to rework the song with long-time SATI collaborator Micmic Demeterio. Prior to recording, Orven Enoveso made a convincing pitch to add a coda for closure in the final arrangement.

Now SATI – Enoveso on vocals/guitar, Zafra on lead guitar, Wesley Chiongbian on bass and new member Vince Yap on drums – is “back” in circulation, with a tighter sound to be unleashed on the listening public in an upcoming Cebu-Manila-Singapore tour. Watch out for the buzz.

You can purchase a digital copy of  “Pretty Loser” here:
Visit the band’s new official website at