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May 5, 2012

A New Band to Watch Out For : " Never The Strangers"

A new band called Never The Strangers (NTS) takes over the scene with its latest single, Moving Closer the latest jingle of the Close Up toothpaste first heard and performed by the group in the Close Up Pyromusical last March 17.

“When I wrote ‘Moving Closer’ I imagined a scene where a guy and girl were falling for each other - everything in slow motion. I have this thing for scenes like that - there’s that obvious element of romance, drama and the idea of ‘the moment’ ” shares itsw lead vocalist Ace, who wrote the song in less than 24 hours.

Never The Strangers is composed of ACE Libre—lead vocals and keyboards, PJ LaViƱa—drums and percussion, FRANCIS Victa—bassist and JP del Mundo—guitars.

When asked how they define their music, each member throws in: “New Wave synth rock,” also “keyboard-driven rock,” but they have songs that are guitar driven too - but they all agree that rock music is their main foundation, influenced by New Wave, alternative and synth.

Never The Strangers, after all, as the band members explained their name, comes from their love for music, how it is a common thread that brings people - even strangers - together. This unabashed idealism shows the age of its members, who are all still in college at Ateneo de Manila University.

With their album out UNDER Warner Music Philippines, they confessed that they never thought they would hear their song being played on the radio nor on TV. They were happy enough with people LSS-ing (Last Song Syndrome) to their first single Alive from hearing it at their gigs.

The album’s line-up is made up of 11 original songs plus a bonus track. All songs are written by Ace Libre, co-arranged by Never the Strangers. Apart from their singles "Moving Closer" and “Alive,” the album includes “Everything,” the oldest song in the album with heart-burning lyrics; “Everything you are and who you wanna be tonight, ignite your soul and I am happy as long as you are. It seems too hard to find the words that say "I'll miss you" in a very happy way, I've held your hand, now things are gonna change, ‘Cause letting go just takes it all away but you’re everything to me” Ace wrote and recorded the demo for this track when he was just 17 and ‘in the thick of teenage hormonal drama.’

At the other end of the spectrum is “Ikaw Na,” “It was the last and quickest song recorded in the album.” Ace said, “Not bad for a rushed affair.” Another Filipino track “Bago Mahuli Ang Lahat,” was conceived during one boring summer afternoon in one of Ace’s class. A song that speaks of following your heart to pursue the one you love, before it’s too late. As the song goes “. Ang hindi mo masabi, kalilimutan mo rin Kung 'di rin mauulit, wala nang mararating..Bago mahuli ang lahat, sa bilang ng tatlo o apat, Sundan mo, sundan mo, puntahan mo na siya, Bago mahuli ang lahat”.

One of the most captivating tracks in the album is “Davenport” with magnetic lines - “You're gone and you're leaving, would you take my heart with you? Now, you're gone and you're leaving, don't you break my heart in two. This goes for every sunset that we'll never have, and every sweet word that will just fade out.” And the band’s breaker single “Alive” is fused with 80s new wave and Ace’s passion for epic-sounding soundtracks (eg. "ZAIA" by Cirque du Soleil) and this was the end-product. He was quite surprised and pleased to discover that people found the song catchy.

Now that their album is out, the band is back to doing live gigs again, injecting their brand of infectious youthful energy into the local band scene. And now that they’re with Warner Music, it’s safe to say that Never the Strangers is one act to watch for as it ushers in a new era of all-original, honest-to-goodness rock music in the days, months and years to come.

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