Have you ever felt your life was missing some brilliant soul music from the Philippines? I know I have. But don’t worry, our prayers have been answered. Released in December 2014, Something New is the debut EP from Banna Harbera, and it’s a wonderful listening experience full of hooks, catchy choruses and most importantly – soul.
The title track opens the EP and it’s perhaps the strongest here. It’s full of confidence, and the big chorus grabs your attention straight away. But it’s the final third that really sees the band open up and let go of their constraints and the result is fantastic. The tempo rises and with it the song comes alive.
The catchy Aside is where Yzabel Torres really shines as a vocalist. Her delivery is effortlessly cool and with some lovely hooks, the song will be stuck in your head for a long time. There’s a lot of passion in her vocals, but she there is also some help from Theo Blanch on keyboard. The solemn, background keys are very dreamlike and set the tone perfectly. They list The Isley Brothers as an influence and it really shows here.
I Don’t Even Mind finishes the EP on a more reflective note. Jake Masigan is the star here with some beautifully understated guitar. Throughout the EP, Masigan is the driving force, proving that the guitar doesn’t need to be at the fore to make it effective. It’s a lesson in self-control and it works very well.
Banna Harbera are just laid-back and groovy, there’s no other way to describe it. If the EP needed something, it would be the confidence to add a soulful ballad. Torres’ vocals would certainly be able for the challenge. But alas, we have been treated to three catchy tunes instead. Be careful if you’re listening on headphones while walking down the street, as you may burst into dance at any moment. It’s also the best way to experience Banna Harbera as you really hear the subtle drums and bass that carry the songs along. And, the EP is available for free on Soundcloud too. Lucky you!