Fuseboxx has always been one of the most unique bands in the local scene. The foursome of Abby Clutario (vocals, keyboard and chapmanstick), Mico Ong (guitars), Eric Tubon (synthesizers) and Lester Banzuelo (drums) have a penchant for creating distinct sounds by masterfully combining elements of rock, progressive, electronic, classical and pop among others. The result that comes out of Fuseboxx’s cauldron is a very rich mix that can produce a very visceral and sensual experience to any listener. The band simply treads the seemingly disparate territory of the avant garde with the elements that might seem familiar to most listeners. Some of the sounds may feel familiar, but with new treatments and even more innovative combinations; the experience feels absolutely novel but not alien the first time you hear Fuseboxx music.
As a follow-up to their critically-acclaimed self-titled album released 2005, the band has successfully launched their sophomore release ¬†Animated. The album is a rich collection of ten tracks that push the envelope – and for a band of Fuseboxx’s standard, the songs on this album really does push the boundaries and rules when it comes to combining and bending genres. Listening through Animated actually feels like a very welcome reason in understanding what’s important and what’s possible in creativity and musical foresight.
The song “Pagbalik” beautifully illustrates the band’s ability to create songs and movements that have a sentimental and visceral familiarity and yet have the ability to disarm you with how fresh and distinct the musical approach is. Van Fernando and Ogi Sugatan directed the very fitting music video for the track. The band is filmed while playing through the song but once again, the treatment of the video and the footage gives it the extra edge – the visuals really do supplement the very dreamy and ethereal qualities of the musical backbone of the track. Reading through the lyrics can also be quite a powerful experience – alas, there are few emotions that could be more powerful and easy to relate to than love, longing and hope. Fuseboxx communicates these ideas with such honesty that’s impossible not to feel the themes of the song.
This is the recurring theme of the entire album – sensual familiarity and yet the musical approach is very refreshing. In the track ‘Columns’, the quick change ups in the intro suggest a very power metal and classical music driven beat, but it quickly evolves into something else – a sonic experience that is clearly pleasant but is very hard to classify or put into a specific genre. The theme of reclaiming oneself and pulling together to get a better perspective is certainly something that everyone can relate with.
With Animated, it’s clear that each chord, word and electronic bleep was placed with mastery and confidence that such an element would make the track more effective. The track ‘Reflections’ explores elements of progressive rock, streams of ambient and a very good dose of metal. Thematically, the music does get darker than the usual Fuseboxx song, but the sheer power of the delivery and the music makes the message still very easy to digest.
“Uyayi” is also a successful experiment in combining many structures and melodies to make a very cohesive whole. The progressions that the band uses in one song could have been used by other bands in several songs but Fuseboxx is simply technically-deft enough to tastefully combine, blend and modify sounds and rhythms as they please to make the melodies fit in seemlessly without making it seem forced and gratuitous.
If you’ve never listened to Fuseboxx, check out the embedded video on this post for “Pagbalik”. You will surely be expanding your musical horizons in the process.