Tropical Depression


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In 1994, Philippine reggae band Tropical Depression released Kapayapaan (Freedom). The dominant figure in the band is D. Gamboa, who sings lead vocals and composed eight of the album's ten songs. His songwriting is trenchant and strong, and contributes to the album's cohesion and excellent overall sound. Gamboa's vocals are also strong and incisive. His hard-edged vocals are the focal point of the opening, "Do the Reggae." The tune is catchy, and the instrumentation and female backing vocals add much to the song's magic. As in traditional reggae, the guitar is used as a rhythm instrument and not for solos, and is heard "scratching" on the offbeat. Also, as in traditional reggae, the bass guitar is used here as a lead instrument, and answers the vocals in catchy, well-defined lines. However, it would be better if the bass were placed higher in the mix. Not all songs follow the traditional reggae style, however, as "Waitin' for Your Love" contains a stinging electric guitar solo. Another exception is "Piso-pisong Panaginip" (One Peso Dream), which contains an almost funky, fuzz-toned guitar line, as well as stinging electric guitar lines. Still, the rhythm guitar hits the offbeat. The song also contains a stirring keyboard solo. The album's best song is the upbeat "Kapayapaan" (Freedom), which contains snappy horns, a charming vibes sound, and a catchy, spirited melody. The interaction of the lead vocals with the backing vocals is also impressive. "Ating Cu Pung Singsing" (Memories) has the aura of a Philippine folk song, and is a wonderful song. This is an excellent album.

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