Narcloudia returns with new album, 'Day-Blind Stars'

Rick Olivares

Posted at Oct 27 2018 02:30 PM

Narcloudia, that Filipino band that was formed in Singapore by expats, is releasing its first full length debut, "Day-Blind Stars," Saturday, October 27, at Mow’s along Matalino Street in Quezon City.

Narcloudia, that Filipino band that was formed in Singapore by expats, is releasing its first full length debut, "Day-Blind Stars," Saturday, October 27, at Mow’s along Matalino Street in Quezon City.

Narcloudia, that Filipino band that was formed in Singapore by expats, is releasing its first full length debut, "Day-Blind Stars," Saturday, October 27, at Mow’s along Matalino Street in Quezon City.

"Day-Blind Stars" features nine new songs and is a followup to the band’s extended play album that they released in Singapore last year. Half the band – singer-guitarist Beatriz Alcala and bassist Domini Robledo (who did some work on "Sky Spectre" but fully came on board to replace Vhop Pascua with this album) are now based in Manila while drummer Karla Pundaodaya still works in Singapore but is relocating to Australia. 

I first wrote about Narcloudia last year when they performed their second ever show on Philippine soil at Route 196. I wasn’t even supposed to be there that early because I had something to do. But boy am I glad I did catch them because I go to discover them and be the first person to write articles about them and that opened a friendship with the band.

And that leads me to "Day-Blind Stars," their first full-length album that is a wonderful follow up to their extended play album, "Sky Spectre." In fact, it’s better.

The title is taken from American poet Wendell Berry’s “The Peace of Wild Things” where he writes about not spending time with grief but moving forward with “the day-blind stars” to light one’s way. The album was written at a time when Alcala was going through a rough patch and is in many ways, a personal one; cathartic even.

You can chalk "Day-Blind Stars" to maturity and, well, coming to terms with who the band is today. Furthermore, they say that one writes great music when one feels something and I subscribe to that. So, Day-Blind Stars is a labor of healing and love. 

Listening to the nine tracks that comprise "Day-Blind Stars," Narcloudia takes me back to my third year high school days when I first discovered The Cocteau Twins and Siouxsie and the Banshees. 

The Cocteau Twins were mysterious with the deliberate unintelligible lyrics to their songs with distorted and effects-laden guitars that painted fantastical sonic landscapes. Siouxsie and the Banshees’ goth music teased with the macabre and mysterious. And they both held me in their thrall. 

The twain found their way into Narcloudia’s "Sky Spectre" albeit with a key ingredient dropped in the cauldron of inspiration -- Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. 

Now, "Day-Blind Stars?" The way it is written and recorded, for me, this sounds like something that would have reeled off 4AD Records’ catalog of which the Cocteau Twins – still with traces of the Banshees. But there’s more… the slower songs especially the title track evokes Lush and for that… I am in love with Narcloudia even more. Of those 4AD bands that I liked, Lush – massive Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson fan here -- was a heavy favorite (along with the Pixies). 

Of the nine tracks, I like “Crisis” and “Colour Wheel” because they really take me back to the Cocteau Twins who are a huge influence for Alcala. “Spiralling Mandy” is like a follow up to “Mad Madder” from Sky Spectre. 

“Charmed” that jumps out because of the different mix. Infused with a punk energy, it’s as different as a Robin Guthrie production (the Cocteau Twins) from a Steve Lillywhite one (he produced the Banshees’ debut Scream and their tortured version of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter”).

“Day-Blind Stars” as I wrote has that lush vibe and I feel is the best one on the album. And the final track, “Stream of Consciousness” returns to the Cocteau Twins and is the perfect coda. 

We’ve seen some pretty impressive releases in the dream pop genre in these past few weeks -- the Strange Creatures’ Phantasms and the Ringmaster’s Viletin. All three are disparate listens but gems. When was the last time got something like locally this in bunches? 

And that leaves me with a quote from Lewis Carroll who I am sure Alcala and company will appreciate: “What I tell you three times is true.”

You must get Narcloudia’s Day-Blind Stars.