to the most jaded of gig-goers, there are just
some times when a band leaves you with an enormous
sense of well-being. In rare cases, the group’s
effectiveness as a unit makes you yearn for
encore after encore. And in even rarer cases,
the band is so brilliant that you cannot help
but feel jealous, wishing beyond all reason
to play a part (however small) in said group’s
near- perfect musical alchemy. Imago is all
of this, and so much more.
With the October release of a new album, the
band has solidified its reputation as one of
the freshest, dedicated and most unique acts
in the local music scene. With true cross-over
capabilities, it would be foolish to even attempt
categorizing Imago into a particular genre.
And considering they only have a handful of
albums to their name, the body of work is indeed
songs cannot be called “pop,” although
they do retain the necessary pop sensibility
that keep even the most casual of listeners
interested. Nor are they “rock,”
despite the undeniable and omnipresent edginess
that laces the work. Add certain elements of
ballad-writing and what you get is a profound
quilt of stylistic disparity that, when placed
in the musical blender, form something brand-spanking-new.
In other words, there really isn’t anybody
out there (foreign or local) that sounds like
Imago… and that achievement alone is worthy
of endless praise.
There is something infinitely majestic about
Imago’s songs, which is immediately indicative
of each member’s considerable talent.
Individually, there are no weak links within
the band. Tim Cacho’s sweeping guitar
lines are emotional, as well as catchy. He instinctively
seems to know when to break out and when to
pull back, accentuating the peaks and valleys
of each song. Still, there are moments of an
unmistakable metal-esque edge that, rather than
being a bad thing, further adds to the complexity
of Imago’s sound. Myrene Academia’s
thoughtful bass runs provide a competent bottom
end, reminiscent of The Who’s John Entwistle.
She lays down the unshakable foundation that
the rest of the band builds upon. Zach Lucero’s
technical proficiency as a drummer is staggering.
Just as he plays support, keeping the band’s
individual skills from spiraling out of control,
his intense cymbal crashes and drum rolls prove
that he is a star in his own right. Most importantly,
he knows how to listen to his cohorts, even
from behind the kit. This leaves us Aia De Leon
who possesses, perhaps, one of the most beautiful
voices in Filipino music ever. It may even be
an understatement to say that her vocal cords
should be declared a national treasure. When
she sings “Akap” (track 3 of the
new album) live, you really don’t know
whether to weep at the poignancy of her lyrics,
or fall in love with Aia herself. I think I
When these four musicians come together, you
realize just how potent music can be. But really,
any accolade I can throw at the direction of
this band will fall inevitably into the realm
of faint praise, no matter how sincere I am.
Imago is merely content to let the music speak
for itself. And it will.