Just a few months after Ely Buendia’s heart-attack, I really did not expect this album to be put out so soon. Just chalk that up to Mr. Buendia’s passion for making music I guess. Either way, Wild Life is out, and it might be a bit different from what music enthusiasts were expecting.
One of the biggest criticisms on Mr. Buendia has been his recent… aversion from his pop roots. From the final albums of the Eraserheads, to Wanted: Bedspacer, to the Mongols, and to Pupil, Mr. Buendia’s music has definitely been unique, to say the least. Albums like Carbon Stereoxide and Buddha’s Pest are all quite different from the standard Pinoy rock fare. Considering that it’s been a while since Mr. Buendia put out a “conventional” rock record, Wild Life really surprises me, as it is definitely one of the most accessible albums Mr. Buendia has put out in a while.
The album starts out with Fin, a short little introduction (not filler!) track, with Mr. Buendia’s wife, Diane Ventura lending her solid vocals. I remember Beautiful Machines’ title track had Ventura singing as well, and that track was one of the best tracks on the album. She doesn’t disappoint here either. All things considered, I think Fin was a conclusion (Fin DOES mean end, after all) to the musical style of Beautiful Machines, rather than an introduction to Wild Life.
That is because Matador does a much better job at it. People used to the music of the Mongols and of Pupil’s debut album may be a little shocked by this song. It is definitely very upbeat and fast-paced, two descriptions one would not really use to describe a Pupil track (barring a few exceptions). Fans better get used to this type of music, as the album definitely favors this style as to the previous heavy musical style Pupil played.
I think Monobloc really showed this. A hopeful, poppy track, this track has been the song that has stood out to me the most. It’s not really Eraserheads-style pop, but somewhere in-between that and Pupil’s grungy style. I readily expect this track to be a single sooner or later. It’s ear candy in a good way.
The next track Here I Go Again, sounds a bit more like the old Pupil, and it provides a strong contrast to Monobloc. The song sounds really heavy.
The musical style shifts back to pop with Talon, a hopeful track on taking chances. Once again, this track shows how different Wild Life is from Beautiful Machines, as this song is definitely brighter and more hopeful than any on Pupil’s debut.
Sumasabay, the next track, is another bright song, this time with themes of love. Meanwhile, Animal Lover is one of the heavier cuts on the album, one that would fit right in with the tracks from Beautiful Machines. The next song, Teacher’s Pet, has a great hook, or at least a really effective one, as it was one of the songs on the album that I listened to repeatedly. It’s not really single-material, but it’s a really good track. The ending is pretty interesting as well. I’ll leave you people to get the album and find out why.
Of course, everybody has heard Sala at least once. I think this song really cemented that this album would be different from Beautiful Machines.
Disco-nnection Notice is pretty interesting, though I was disappointed that Pupil didn’t make a dig on today’s mobile phone-obsessed society. I guess that’s Radioactive Sago Project’s job (Tanginamo andaming nagugutom sa mundo fashionista ka parin!!!! Hehe).
Bato is another interesting track, and I consider this the end of the album. It’s another heavy one, and pretty somber as well.
I honestly believe Set Me Apart was placed here just because it was crafted by Pupil, and not as part of an album, just like Batang-Bata Ka Pa in Sugarfree’s Tala-Arawan. It’s just there really.
All in all, the album really grew on me after a few listens. But I didn’t really enjoy it the first few spins. Nonetheless, Pupil came through, eventually. That doesn’t mean that their fanbase may not be alienated however. The album is definitely miles away from their debut release. I do not attribute this to commercialism though. It’s probably more of a side-effect of Mr. Buendia’s experiences this year, and also of the change to the band’s lineup. The album is not necessarily better or worse than Beautiful Machines, just different, I guess. It’s also pretty good on its own merits.
Rating: 4 of 5
Pupil’s Myspace Page. (With Song Samples)