CD reviews: Gayuma’s funk, Ronan on fire

By Jackie Dosmanos

Posted at Nov 25 2012 06:14 PM | Updated as of Nov 26 2012 07:05 PM

Gayuma

'Silaw'

The five-piece band Gayuma hails from Batangas and the members literally journey from their provincial home base to every gig. It’s been that way since their start in high school and it hasn’t stopped them from bagging the 2007 Muziklaban crown.

Their peripatetic lifestyle rebounds on their music which, founded on funk, roams the wilder precincts of rock and soul. Gayuma vocalist Niño Tapia says the band has a simple formula: to make music that’s good to play and listen to. That seems like guess work but the band’s full-length debut entitled “Silaw” argues that Gayuma’s seemingly uncomplicated method can produce remarkable results.

Hectic funk paying tribute to Karl Roy’s many incarnations boosts album opener “Ang Buhay Ni Manong Shotgun” Like a mission statement, funk’s gnarly head turns up in subsequent tracks — laced with Average White Band spit and shine in “Kuneho Groove (featuring Karl Roy),” Rage Against The Machine piss in “Sleepless Walker” and Tame The Tikbalang slash and burn in “Isang Kanta Para Kay Juan Salakot.”

Album closer “Goodbye Summer” takes away all the noise in its blissful lounge-y balladry but it’s a bittersweet kiss-off so there’s still no proper closure in the end.

Gayuma connects because of the band’s ability to bludgeon as well as to create songs of fragile beauty in equal measure. Another Muziklaban alumni ready for the big leagues!

Ronan Keating

"Fires"

Who knew the more famous face and voice in ‘90s boy band Boyzone keeps plugging away? When radio still mattered, all we got were retreads of hits from the past so it comes as a surprise that "Fires" is Ronan Keating’s fifth recording in a decade-long solo career.

The new album was greeted with a bit of controversy when the UK press reported it sold a mere 181 copies in his native Ireland. Keating defended that the No. 1 best–seller at that time shipped only 700 copies in a country with traditionally low physical album sales.

Maybe hardcore fans accounted for the sub-par sales of "Fores." However, Keating’s performance on his latest release isn’t that much different from, if not better than, say the recent output of superstar Robbie Williams.

On "Fires," Keating expands on his firm grip on the pop ballad and accommodates the anthemic rock sound beloved by U2, Coldplay, and the Muse. A bit of rap shows up in “Lullaby” and a touch of “Another One Bites The Dust” echoes in “NYC Girl.”

Keating is willing to stay relevant with the times even as his voice remains an instrument of undiminished splendor. There’s still smoky elegance in his singing that once set the music world on fire.

Fifty Shades of Grey

'The Classical Album'

E. L. James, author of the erotic novel "Fifty Shades of Grey," curated this collection of classical pieces which were wellsprings of inspiration for her in the course of writing the book. Offhand, there’s no direct connection to the supposed eroticism or thrill underlying the author’s works.

What one gets is a collection of memorable pieces from acclaimed composers Bach, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Debussy and Pachebel. Okay, there are enough slow piano ballads to soundtrack erotic pursuits and a few fast passages to accompany any energetic enterprise.

For the layman, it may as well be a companion piece to that other classic classical compendium, “Classical Music For Those Whose Who Hate Classical Music.”