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A phoenix is a mythical bird of flame that dies, consuming itself in a literal blaze of glory, only to be reborn and begin life anew. Faster. Stronger. Better? Out of the ashes of THE seminal band of the 90s (who shall remain nameless) comes Cambio, a new group composed of some of Pinoy Rock’s most seasoned veterans. To say “All-Star Lineup” would be a gross understatement. To put things into perspective regarding the ambitiousness of this project, only one other band in history has attempted such a feat. In the late 60s, a group called The Dirty Mac was formed by luminaries such as John Lennon on guitars/vocals, Eric Clapton on lead guitar, Keith Richards on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums. As expected, they only played one gig as a unit. Cambio, on the other hand, looks like it’s here to stay.

A veritable “who’s who” of contemporary Filipino music, the roster is exciting to say the least. The masterminds of Cambio are founding members Raimund Marasigan (drums) and Buddy Zabala (bass). Living legends within the scene, Zabala is also a member of indie die-hards Twisted Halo, while Marasigan is well known for his work with Sandwich (and like, what, five other bands now?). Guitarist Ebe Dancel is, of course, the frontman of fan-favorites Sugarfree. Kris Gorra-Dancel on guitars is no rookie, being most recognizable as a part of the great Fatal Posporos. Rounding up the lineup is guitarist Diego Mapa of Monsterbot and Pedicab fame. As for a lead vocalist? Well, why limit yourself to one singer when all five members are capable of taking turns on the microphone?

With such a myriad of musical backgrounds, you would suspect these artists to be at each others’ throats sooner or later. Each one is a successful songwriter, leaving skeptics breathless with anticipation for the inevitable clashing of egos. We are fortunate, then, that Marasigan & Co. bear no misguided notions of musical elitism. Listening to the band’s recorded tracks or watching them
perform live, only one word comes to mind: eclectic. Each individual musician manages to bring a vital ingredient into the fold. This results in a gorgeous stew (or halo-halo, if you prefer) of sonic mastery rather than mayhem. Even to the most naked of ears, it is apparent that Cambio is hell-bent on referencing the entire spectrum of music. Classic rock or sneering punk, spitfire rap, pounding techno and even the more familiar OPM pop ballads are all thrown into the mix. Nothing is taboo.

One would think that such a scattershot approach to composition leaves the band playing a nasty game of musical hit or miss. I prefer to think of Cambio’s songs as a loaded shotgun. When they pull the trigger, the many different facets all go in the same direction, easily hitting the intended mark. The band’s only concern is to make good music. If the puritanical toes of certain “fans” get stepped on, well, so be it. As for the rest of us, listening is the least we can do…I know I will.


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