Synthwave rock and alt-pop band Brisom is bent on reviving the sound of the glorious 80’s with the release of their new EP entitled “Mixtape Vol. 1.”

Brisom—keyboardist Timothy Abbott, drummer Jeffrey Castro and band leader Brian Sombero said the band took advantage of the time afforded them by the lockdown to write and record a number of songs for the album.

Opening the set is the excellent “Joan,” a full-on 80’s sounding song about letting go of a toxic relationship.

Sombero said that the “new songs have been written some time ago, was shelved and now revived to fit the popwave vibe of their music.”

One of these songs is the piano-decked “Ikaw Pa Rin” featuring alt-pop singer Shanne Dandan.

Brisom with Shanne Dandan

“We’ve been eyeing (to work with) Shanne ever since we watched her perform at Fete de la Musique (2019). We had a feeling her voice fits with our sound and turns out we were right.”

Sure enough, “Ikaw Pa Rin” has the 80’s sound down pat. The theme also lends to the throwback feel  as the track is about, as Sombero describes it, “staring into a blank space, reminiscing.”

Brisom got the whole synthwave / popwave sound thing down, but surprisingly, chasing the 80’s sound is the last thing on the mind of Brisom.

“We don’t associate our music with the 80’s. Reason why is, it’s boxing us,” Sombero states. “We have a lot of inquiries asking us if we cover songs from the 80’s, thing is we don’t. Can’t blame them though.”  

Be that as it may, those familiar with the sound and feel of the aforementioned decade will still find the connection of a Brisom track like “Strangers” to past acts like say, Johnny Hates Jazz and the latter’s song “Turn Back The Clock” to which “Strangers” has a likeness to.  

Completing the 6-track EP are remixes of past singles updated for the times.

This includes “Balewala” and “Wag Na Sana” which was released in 2017 and early 2020 respectively, and remixed by Headroom (aka Heinrich Bernabe) to which the DJ-producer added some overt dance elements. Meanwhile “Hagkan” featuring singer Chique is more moody and relaxed after Yuniko (alter-ego of band keyboardist Timothy Abbott) tweaked it.

New wave sounds and dance remixes? You couldn’t get more 80’s than that. And Brisom’s got a proper handle on the style. However ironically, Sombero doesn’t want to be boxed in it.

“We are actually evolving, our music is leaning towards more modern. Synthwave is just an element.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (