DESPITE not having released a full-length album, Indie folk pop band Ben&Ben has taken streaming sites and the airwaves by storm with a succession of hit singles since 2017 including “Maybe the Night” and “Kathang Isip.”
This year, the nine-piece band frontlined by brothers Miguel Benjamin and Paolo Benjamin Guico (hence the band name) is releasing its debut album, Limasawa Street, which they call an album “full of light and hope.”
The band members are Miguel Benjamin Guico (vocals, guitars), Paolo Benjamin Guico (vocals, guitars), Poch Barretto (electric guitars), Jam Villanueva (drums), Agnes Reoma (bass), Patricia Lasaten (keyboards), Toni Muñoz (percussion), Andrew de Pano (percussion, backing vocals), and Keifer Cabugao (violin).
“We wanted the album to represent a place of light by singing about hopeful perspectives in troubled situations,” Paolo Guico said in a press release.
During the album press conference on May 10 at the Glasshouse in Makati City, Ms. Muñoz said they aimed to make the album “be a full experience instead of just a thing to play your music from.”
The album is packaged in a midnight blue box with an inner box containing the album (via flash disk) and an insert. The inner box can be converted into a lantern and they chose a flash disk which has an LED light.
“We want the contents to be cohesive with the concept of the album,” he added.
Aside from the album, the box also contains artwork by Nicolai Maybituin which represent each song from the album.
The album offers 13-tracks with “most of the songs written in a narrow time frame,” according to the release — it took the band three months to finish recording.
Miguel Guico explained that they initially planned for a 12-song album but inspiration struck him while he was buying water at a convenience store near the recording studio which led to the creation of “Pagtingin,” which became the album’s first single.
“Limasawa Street really stretched and explored our limits in terms of both songwriting and arranging,” Paolo Guico explained in the release. “During our arranging retreat, we tackled each song with a very particular mindset, but not necessarily a clear-cut direction. There was a lot of sharing of different musical and technical influences, which resulted in arrangements that were all so different from each other, but all still cohesively and distinctly Ben&Ben.”
The album is said to explore various music styles, from world music to 1960s soul, jazz to choral music, and employs Afro-Latin breaks, indigenous stylings, rock arrangements, and other eclectic elements in addition to their brand of radio-friendly folk-pop tunes.
The album is named after the street where Paolo Guico’s girlfriend lives (“that’s the short answer,” said Miguel Guico) but through the course of making the album, they realized that the word, “masawa” is the Butuanon word for “light.”
The album is out today, and to promote the album’s launch, Ben&Ben will be holding a 12-date, multi-city album tour in select Ayala Mall including Ayala Center Cebu and Abreeza in Davao City. The album will be available during the tour.
The full schedule of the tour is as follows: May 17 at Marquee Mall, May 19 at Harbor Point, June 9 at Centrio Mall, June 15 at Ayala Malls Capitol Central, June 22 at Ayala Malls Legazpi, June 23 at The District Imus, June 29 at Ayala Center Cebu, July 13 at Alabang Town Center, June 20 at Ayala Malls Circuit, June 27 at Ayala Malls Solenad, Aug. 9 at TriNoma, and Aug. 17 at Abreeza. — ZB Chua