In the high stakes game of Pinoy pop, sound and message is everything.

And these groups are aware of it and are bringing their ‘A’ game.

ALAMAT is keenly aware that just being cute won’t cut it. That’s why the 8-member group that includes Tomas, Taneo, R-Ji, Mo, Valfer, Alas, Gami and Jao, are banking that their message and aesthetic would make the difference between being regarded as pretty but vacuous boys, to a pop group out to raise the level of the P-pop genre.

And they’re off to a good start. Having just made their debut early this year, ALAMAT has already done good things for themselves. Their initial single “kbye” had the right amount of upbeat, R&B swag and pop bubblegum for one. And breaking the one million streaming mark for a new act (for their music video) is always a good indicator. But perhaps it’s their style and aesthetic that makes the difference. Obviously, the influence is K-Pop, but the vibe is all Pinoy. Anybody else out there singing in Tagalog, Bisaya, Waray, Bicolano and Ilocano all in the same song? ALAMAT has got that covered. And the group is taking great lengths to inject Filipino culture and imaging into their style. And not just in the obligatory way, but a conscious effort to update the traditional and make it look cool, or at least their interpretation of what’s stylish and cool.

And the effort extends to the music. Their latest single “kasmala” (stylized lowercase) ticks like a Swiss watch on steroids. The track actually is produced by a Sweden-based music production called The Kennel that’s made pop tunes for dozens of Western pop stars, BTS included. For sure there’s Pinoy flavor, and it comes in the form of lyrics as written by Thyro Alfaro. And amidst those Swiss beats are Indigenous instruments called the hegalong and gongs! So one could say that this is a collaboration between those Swedish popsters and Pinoy musicians.  Thematically, “kasmala” is all about the indomitable Pinoy spirit in the face of adversity. And you’ve probably figured out already that “kasmala” is a play on the word malakas right? Sturdy indeed.  

Press Hit Play’s introductory treat

Making their debut, or pre-debut rather (according to their PR) is a boyband called Press Hit Play a.k.a. PHP. The group has just released a single titled “Galakbay” which are the words “gabay sa paglalakbay” smashed together.

PHP is choosing to go with a ballad that “tug at the heartstrings” of their steadily rising fan base and to herald their arrival on the Pinoy pop scene. Said to be “a love letter to their fans and everyone who supported them along the way,” this spare, piano-decked ballad is mainly driven by sentiment and the “vulnerability and sincerity” of delivery of singers Yukito and Sev of PHP.

Press Hit Play members include Yukito, CHRLS, JP , Zi.o, Sev (aka Rhadz) and Yuuki.

The members of PHP are quite self-contained musically. Though Yukito and Sev are highlighted as singers on this particular track, members JP and CHRLS are all over the music with the former coming up with it and the latter producing it.

“Galakbay” is released by the evosound label under the Evolution Music Group.

Source: Manila Bulletin (