Composed of Raimund Marasigan, Diego Mapa, Mike Dizon, Jason Caballa, and RA Rivera, Pedicab has returned with another serving of dance punk courtesy of a new full-length release, Shinji Ilabas Mo Na Ang Helicopter. Bolstered by a slew of hit singles like Dizzy Boy and Dito Tayo sa Dilim from their debut album Tugish Takish, the band has already placed itself at a lofty position within the music scene. Now, with their sophomore album, the band looks to reinforce themselves as one of the movers and shakers of the local dance and rock scenes.
One thing apparent from the get-go is the added variety of the new album. Wherein Tugish Takish was a “straight, no chaser”-type, with a more straightforward approach to its dance-punk stylings, Shinji is a cocktail of more diverse ingredients, with elements such as rap, pop, and a more traditional rock sound added in for good measure. Tracks such as the opener FX, which chronicles the travails of a common rider of public transport in rap, and the feel-good cut Good to Go, which is a pop-rock song with synthesizers, bring in foreign sounds to Pedicab’s repertoire. Meanwhile, songs like Simulan Mo Na and carrier single Ang Pusa Mo are punk songs that recall the more familiar Pedicab sound. This more heterogeneous concoction shows the band’s versatility, but it also makes the album a bit unfocused. One of the things that I liked about Tugish Takish was its constant sonic assault, with only the brief respite of A Stormy Night, which made the album an intense listen. Shinji has the more eclectic sound, but personally, that kind of works against the album.
Meanwhile, the album is solid lyrically. Raimund Marasigan’s wit is in full effect, with the innuendo-filled Ang Pusa Mo, the aforementioned FX, and the social commentary of Pa-Taste being the highlights. Those three aside, the songs mostly subscribe to the seedier, suggestive songwriting of Pedicab’s first, with tracks like Deafening Silence and Put the Pieces Together falling under this category.
Standout tracks in the album include FX, which is more or less Betamax on steroids, Simulan Mo Na and Put the Pieces Together, which are as close to Dito Tayo Sa Dilim or Dizzy Boy as one will find in this album. The more “unique” tracks, such as Good to Go and Breaking Away are worth a spin as well. One should also wait for the hidden instrumental track at the end. Is it just me or does it sound like the underlying beat for that blasted Fergalicious song?
Listening to both of Pedicab’s albums though, I cannot help but feel that Tugish Takish is still the better Pedicab release. As mentioned, their debut release provides a more satisfying experience with its simpler approach. Shinji, while more experimental, lags on occasion, and the album doesn’t “grab” one as easily as the first can. However, the album is still laudable for the band’s effort to add musical variety and creativity to its work, as well as the general catchy-ness and wit of the band’s music. The album may not be as quickly accessible as the first, but overall, it is quite a solid one on its own right.