Blackbird Blackbird – Boracay Planet EP
While the newest effort from Blackbird Blackbird is labeled as an EP, please don’t feel like you’re going to get shorted here. In contrast to the earlier work of Mikey Maramag, the five songs on the Boracay Planet EP are much more expansive than the work he did on his Halo LP, with four out of five songs stretching over 4 minutes. It’s a combination of electronic swirls and tight guitar work, bringing about a strikingly beautiful piece of work.
It takes nearly two minutes for “It’s A War” to build its way into a song with lyrics, but the tension created is perfect for the release that eventually comes. For me the most striking effect is the background vocal that accompanies Maramag. At times it’s sung, but there’s a few moments where the emotion of the voice shines through. And the angular guitar line that knifes its way through the end of the song is something quite special. It’s a track that slowly unfolds, demonstrating the focus put into the latest Blackbird Blackbird release.
“All” is one of the various tracks that surfaced before the official release. Vocals begin with a whisper, and the music again unfolds in a dramatic sense. I like the restraint shown in the pacing of the tune, knowing that if Mikey had sped things up he’d have a certified club hit on his hands. My mind wants to say this is all purposeful, making Boracay Planet more of an emotional affair, maximizing the listener’s involvement in the listening experience.
My first listen to “Tear” was a little unsettling when compared to the EP as a whole. There’s little electronic glitches, which I personally find a bit overused at times, nostalgically pointing back to 90s club music. But, there’s another, lighter, beat that bubbles beneath the song when you move past the one minute mark that eventually gave the song more life. That being said, it’s the one song I’ll occasionally skip over while listening to this collection. That can’t be said, however, about “Keep It Up,” which grabbed me by the heartstrings from the minute it came on the stereo. The combination of guitar and electronics creates this melodious vibe that is quite moving. Maramag uses brevity with the lyrics, so as not to detract from the song’s capacity to please.
Blackbird Blackbird closes out this affair with a reflective sort of song, at least in the title. ”Happy With You” seems to be the most message-oriented track on the EP, but what I’m taking from it is that it’s okay to be wrong/right, as long as you appreciate the place that you’re living. It’s a hard-fought place to find yourself, but in the end I think that it sort of encompasses the mood of Boracay Planet EP. It’s not an overstated record, and if anything, it’s slightly understated. Emotions are maximized throughout, leaving listeners with an electronic album build around billowy song structures and blossoming melodies. Something special this way comes.