Thursday, December 31, 2015

VFORT-The Love Band Project (2012)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: December 31, 2015

My fifth after-Christmas present to myself (yes—I'm definitely singing an alternate version of "The Twelve Days Of Christmas" now) sees me returning to the OPM circuit, a place in my ongoing music treks that I've been exploring a lot over the past three or four years or so. There was the American boyband that called itself V FACTORY, then there was the Filipino trio that calls itself VFORT. It was either during my most recent tour of the OPM catalog or in the midst of a heavy boyband binge I went on earlier this year when I discovered these guys, reading about their emergence into the pop music scene in a brief online press release formally introducing them. They'd been on my backburner for far too long ever since I got wind of them, but off the backburner this VFORT trio comes tonight as they and their debut album, "The Love Band Project", have just fortified my boyband collection even further! Like so many OPM albums I've had the joy of listening to, this one also consists of songs performed in both English and the native Filipino Tagalog. Let me begin by putting the spotlight on my latest 'Surprise Of The Day': their remake of the Pink smash radio hit, "Just Like A Pill". For those of us who are used to the more rock-intensified sound and the raging vocals of the Pink original, it might take a while before VFORT's more mellow, gentleman-like ballad interpretation is fully embraced. But listening to this song first, as I had done (since I'm forever the sucker for cover songs), will serve as a great way to become familiar with the beautifully soulful voices of the three individual members. Either way, it's still a nice song for the easy-listening ears. Even nicer than that, however, is a song that has gotta be one of their biggest hits to date as well as a true eye-opener to their talents: "The Coffee Song". It's a fun love story performed in a skippy, boy-meets-girl-at-the-coffee-shop-on-a-morning-walk-to-work kinda way. Then perhaps even sweeter than that jewel is the pop treasure that is "Sweetheart". A killer upbeat jam like this one has excellent replay value; I dare you to play it just once and think you'll be satisfied! Digging that glitz in the production break when the guys go 'whoa-oh-oh, whoa-oh-oh' before the main hook jumps in. Satisfaction guaranteed comes with the thrilling package the VFORT crew delivers on the club cut, "Dance! (Take Me To The Floor)". With such effortless, rapid-fire ease and totally hip flair are the lyrics sung to this one! I needed about three listens to "Still" before it started to stick to me.....and I 'still' want another listen. Perhaps it's a sign that my ears were aching for something on the warmer side? "Couldn't Be Without You", another lyrical heart-warmer showing the simpler side of love, gets my seal of approval; I love these modern-day pop tunes that have a classy, throwback bump to them as this one does. That leaves all of the Tagalog-language tracks, which I knew I'd have to appreciate for their instrumentals and overall sound, as I'm still learning the Filipino tongue. "Kung Pag-ibig Ay Wala Na" could have qualified as my next 'Slow Jam Of The Night'. Ooooh, wouldn't this one have been great if it were recorded in English? I soooooooooooooo wish I could've understood the words! But for what it's worth, I instantly fell in love with this one the moment the melody and the slow groove melted into my ears. The acoustic guitar sounds make "Mananatili" a marvelous melodic moment while the sweet saxophone instrumental midway through "Hindi Ko Kaya" kept me attached to the album's eighth track. As for "Prinsesa" (I wonder if this really does mean 'princess'?), I'd say it very well should be another VFORT favorite among the fans, given the harmonious glow they put into the words they sing against the light soft rock arrangement. I sure hope that "The Love Band Project" isn't the final project constructed by this fine Filipino trio; I'm looking forward to fortifying my boyband collection further with whatever other future masterpieces that they construct:

1. Prinsesa
2. The Coffee Song
3. Still
4. Mananatili
5. Dance! (Take Me To The Floor)
6. Kung Pag-ibig Ay Wala Na
7. Just Like A Pill
8. Hindi Ko Kaya
9. Sweetheart
10. Couldn't Be Without You

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