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Sulyap Review

by David Gonzales

In 1998, 19-year-old Philippine female singer Noah (last name Sindac) released her debut album, Sulyap ("Glance"). The instrumentation throughout the album is strikingly well-performed, and the song arrangements are well-planned. A good number of the songs have a soulful ambience, while others are rooted in the passionate, easy listening love song so popular in the Philippines. Noah has a nice voice and sings with depth and a degree of versatility, though there is still room for development. She isn't entirely comfortable on the soulful "Whenever You Need Me," for example, or the sinuous, hip-hop styled "Back to You." Still, she has talent and potential. Many of the songs use backing vocal harmonies that add a distinctive touch, but also drown out Noah's voice at times. A major drawback of the album is that all but two of the album's 13 songs are slow paced. Things begin most promisingly, but after the fifth song or so, things begin to sound alike. The album's first upbeat song, "I Wanna," is the 11th track on the album, which is a long wait. Neither of the upbeat songs, "I Wanna" and "Crazy," are particularly exciting, but they at least provide relief to the tedium induced by the other songs. Even a relatively decent slow song, "Whenever You Need Me," which is the CD's tenth track, gets buried in the album's ballad-dominated context.