Pedicab first caught my attention when they were featured in Marie Jamora’s excellent film, Ang Nawawala. Their single Ubusan ng Lahi was the very first Pedicab masterpiece I’ve ever listened to. My ears popped, and I instantly became a fan.
When they announced that they would finally release a new album, I became very excited. Remuda Triangle finally dropped during the summer, and I immediately fell in love with this amazing work.
Being a vinyl release, this LP might be an inconvenience to fans who do not own a turntable. But, I think that it was a very smart choice to release it that way. The album is a concept album with an overarching narrative. And because Remuda Triangle is a vinyl release, the band is basically encouraging you to focus on the record’s holistic qualities and not just the individual tracks.
Here, we also see the band addressing the problem with the rise of digital releases and even the compact disk (CDs). Because, due to everything being “downloadable”, listeners can pick and choose what they want to hear. Pedicab has shown us that albums are not meant to be seen as just a mere collection of songs, but as a unified whole that follows an overall theme. This is risky, but a very smart move.
Thematically, the album is exactly what you’d expect from a title such as “Remuda Triangle”. The album is an exciting, unearthly, out-of-this-world experience of creativity and chaos that no one should miss. It presents a non-linear narrative about aliens, humanity, invasion, love, war, and other cool and weird crap.
Remuda Triangle also presents music that isn’t very easy to listen to. Exhibiting an experimental style of songwriting, Pedicab combines their signature alternative / post-punk / grunge sound with hard-hitting synths and electronic details. And so, if you’re looking for a smooth, musical ride without any bumps along the road, this album is not for you; because this album definitely is an enjoyable rocky road, each song interlacedly leading to a subtly satisfying finish.
“The album is an exciting, unearthly, out-of-this-world experience of creativity and chaos that no one should miss.”
There is a chunk of songs that sound very mechanical and gritty. But Pedicab balances the already dark and bizarre atmosphere with a good bit of danceable, head-bopping, disco-esque tracks. Divided into Sides A and B, since it’s a vinyl LP, the album remains consistent with its sound, flow, pacing, and tone.
SIDE A. Opening track Walang Maramdaman is a slow, dark, and brooding headbanger that narrates the confusion of being abducted by aliens. Alipin bumps up the tempo as yet another “creation myth” is recounted implying that aliens created Earth. Mercury Retrograde is one of the album’s slower tracks, foreshadowing the “cosmic disturbance” of an imminent alien invasion. What’s the Algorithm, the first single, and one of the album’s best, is more-or-less a really good, rough, jumpy disco song. Side A concludes with Brainwash, another excellent track that definitely adds to the narrative and is supported by a final one minute led by a groovy synth and Mike Dizon’s foot-tapping drum beat.
SIDE B. After a rough, mechanical, jarring Side A that’s mostly influenced by a head-banging grunge-punk-rock sound, Side B really showcases the album’s funky, disco-like, head-bopping qualities. Once you flip over the record and drop that needle, Meet Your Right, the grooviest song of the album, plays and catches your attention. Soul Riot is a return to the oddity and mechanical sound. Virgo Dragon is a good blend of the mechanical grunge sound and funky disco characteristic. Star Jelly, definitely a contender for “album’s best”, is probably is the most cinematic, film score-ish song on the album. And finally, Sending Out A Signal is the punk-est song; detailing the feeling of being left behind by your alien friends, this is the perfect conclusion to Remuda Triangle.
Honestly, I believe that Remuda Triangle is Pedicab’s best album. You just cannot overlook the ambitious narrative that is properly executed through the band’s uniquely peculiar sound and imaginative writing. Not to mention Mapa’s psychedelic vocals; perfect to narrate the haunting yet captivating tale of aliens and compromise.
Sure, the music is awesome. But we also have to notice the band’s new look and the album art and how these aspects support Remuda Triangle.
The flamboyant helmets donned by the band are good additions to the album’s already uncanny aesthetic. They were designed by Leeroy New who is the mastermind behind the art project Aliens of Manila. The cover art is an actual painting by Ernest Concepcion called The Battering of Battery Park which depicts an alien invasion in New York City; another cool bit that supports Remuda Triangle’s concepts.
“Remuda Triangle also presents music that isn’t very easy to listen to. Exhibiting an experimental style of songwriting, Pedicab combines their signature alternative / post-punk / grunge sound with hard-hitting synths and electronic details.”
And thus, I must say that Remuda Triangle is a masterpiece. The music is on-point, the lyrics are well-written, and the sound is well-developed. You can really feel that the members are not trying to overshadow each other; they make sure that all of them equally share the spotlight. Also, with the character helmets and perfect choice of an album art, it is very evident that Pedicab pays attention to the smallest details and takes their craft very seriously, unlike most mainstream and some indie acts.
Pedicab is a band that defies genre boundaries, successfully blends sounds that aren’t supposed to be related, and never fails to astonish with wit and verve. Destined for greatness, I think this band is one for the ages.
Showcasing Pedicab’s quirky creativity and infectious eccentricity, Remuda Triangle is the band’s most impressive album to date and, definitely, one of 2017’s best.
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