Last week’s 4-track Split EP, as well as highlighting the vibrancy and quality of South-East Asia‘s alternative music scene, in this particular case from the Philippines, brings together two Manila-based bands, Ozzga and Polar Lows, that approach the classic shoegazing wall of sound with the due energetic dose of noise a la My Bloody Valentine, both harsh and celestial, teetering between blissful daydreaming and dramatic reality, but with distinct nuances, more blaring, obscure and magmatic the former with nods to Jesu and Boris, whilst equally densely textured yet immersed in early Cocteau-Twins-esque rarefied shady ruminations the latter.
Formed in the far 2014, with a couple of EPs under their helm, the last in 2020, the 5-piece Ozzga reveal, in addition to a compelling new vocalist, a different facet of the heavy sound they are known for, with the Whirr-like blend of fuzz and ethereal, “Feel you”, explores the lush yet harsh boundaries of ephemeral love and bodily yearning, with vibrant bouncy drum beats that propel the breathless, high anxiety brimming from a sea of relentless flurrying fuzzy guitar distortion and high-pitched anguished blinding leads over longing heavenly vocals, to fade out in a contemplative and droning climax of discomfort, where brittle dreams dimmer into a merciless collision with reality.
As a heady combination of the band’s contrasting sonic leanings, “Should”, deploys smooth, dreamy sad cries floating through a slow seething void of rippling, at time screeching, guitar-induced heavily oppressive resonant doom to fall helpless into a murky pool where an angsty waiting game with fate evokes melancholic memories and haunting dreams from a restless limbo of fear.
Born in 2018, fellow 4-piece combo Polar Lows, comprised of Megumie Alcala, Christian Pablo, Francis Topia, and Josh Gandia, debuted with the acclaimed first EP “Hereafter” the year later, followed at the end of 2020 by the captivating single “Pila Pila”.
The group explores tortuous grunge-inflected domains out from their usual comfort zone with the equally chaotic and blissed-out, “Paper Street”, inspired by Tyler Durden’s house address on the “Fight Club” movie, through an anxious slow strumming intro that melds into warped, disconcerted fuzzed-out distortions, to buzz, sway, and expand with erratic boisterous energy around the sombre, numb, ghostlike halos, emotional sways, and romantic croons of a fraudulent existence, to sulk wearily beneath heavy agitated mists of grimy discomfort and guilt.
With clear nods to early 4AD wistful tormented beauty, the final “Ellipsis” uncoils dreamy ethereal cries soaring over crepuscular sparkling jangly 6-string melodies along with reverb-drenched gauzy and hazy corroborating flows into sinuous heavenly sky-gazing surges of fearful pain to avoid the slow dragging weight of shameful memories, whilst surrendering into the strength and conviction of true love.
A truly beautiful noise!
Keep up with Ozzga / Polar Lows: