Ethnic Faces


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In 1995, Philippine rock band Ethnic Faces released its debut album, Dekada. The band writes its own music. Much of the music has a funky, soulful vibe to it, including "Pusong Negro" (trans: Black Heart), "Lust," "Ang Hari" (trans: The King) and "Ubos-Oras" (trans: Whiling the Time Away).

"Hindi Tao, Hindi Hayop" (trans: Not People Nor an Animal) is a tender, sensuous love song. "Brutal Scar," which tells of the armed conflict between Philippine government troops and Communist insurgents, which has gone on far too long in this country, is performed within the context of a compelling, straightahead rock number.

Playing a significant role is keyboardist Ed Ramos, whose inspired solos, fills and chordal progressions on organ and some piano display much imagination and verve, fueling the songs with a contagious, soulful energy. The lithe, jazz-inspired keyboard tag to "Brutal Scar" is very interesting, the lines reminiscent of 70s jazz/rock fusion band Return to Forever.

The stinging guitar fills and solos of Ariel Policarpio add spicy seasoning. Vocalist Jack Sicat, however, sings in a monotonous, drone-like manner, and his range is quite limited. The singing is barely passable on some songs, if retaining a certain charm and mystique, while on other songs it sounds just plain awful, with no charm whatsoever.

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