Freeverse

Freeverse

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    4
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In 1999, Philippine band Freeverse released their self-titled debut album. The band's sound is rooted in passionate, easy-listening love songs -- a popular style of music in the Philippines -- but is coated here with a soulful, rhythm & blues edge, as heard in "Muli" ("Again"), "Still in Love," "Loving You," and others.

The band's soulful style is similar to that of several other Filipino bands, most notably South Border and Jeremiah. Freeverse displays some diversity on the album, and "Mysterious" has an acid jazz ambience, replete with soulful vibes and the crackle of wah-wah guitar. (It should be noted that acid jazz is a broad term encompassing many diverse musical presentations, and "Mysterious" appears to be influenced by such international artists as Incognito and Brand New Heavies, whose soulful, spirited sound is just one form of acid jazz.)

Another song, "Teka Muna" ("Wait a Minute"), has a pop/rock ambience and features searing electric lead guitar. The melody to "Teka Muna" is weak, however, which causes the adventurousness to be dissipated. "She's There" and "Part of Me" are moderately upbeat outings, and feature some of the album's best songwriting, which, unfortunately, isn't saying much.

Nearly all songs on Freeverse suffer from weak songwriting, as heard in the tepid melodies and hooks (the songs were composed by Freeverse bassist Ned Esguerra). The slow, easy-listening love songs are insufferably bland, although the closing track, "Surrender," has potential. Still, this album is a dud.