Pumarosa – the name itself conjures the image of a sinewed feral beast hunting elusive prey.
But the band, composed of vocalist-guitarist Isabel Munoz-Newsome, drummer Nicholas Owen, bassist Henry Brown, saxophonist-keyboardist Tomoya Suzuki and guitarist Neville James, doesn’t exactly growl or bite. Instead, it purrs and slinks around you the way a hungry, domesticated cat does.
There’s nothing wrong with that. The familiarity inherent to the band’s sound makes them likeable.
We learned about the band when they released the moody “Priestess” from a few years back. The track made our ears perk thinking it was from Siouxsie And The Banshees.
More of the same can be had in their 10-track debut “The Witch.” The title track continues with the chanting tribal feel of “Priestess,” but more danceable.
Pumarosa’s inventive use of minor chords and strange but ultimately effective electronic hums prove hypnotic enough particularly if you listen to it in a darkened room.
We love the one-two punch of “Dragonfly” and “Honey,” the more tuneful tracks off the collection, which actually reminds us of Xmal Deutschland only with U2’s The Edge playing guitars.
The drama in “Lions’ Den” is kind of off-putting at the start, with Munoz-Newsome seemingly channeling the ghost of Jeff Buckley, but it grows on you.
“My Gruesome Loving Friend” is another up tempo pop-rock number that displays Munoz-Newsome’s expressive range.
“Red” starts off simply enough with sleepy, steady drumming, which suddenly picks up speed coming together in seemingly orgasmic burst.
“Barefoot,” meanwhile, is an analog bonanza of vintage sounding synths colliding with clanging acoustic guitars.
Completing the track list are “Hollywood” and “Snake.” The first is another electronica jam while the second is all dirty riffs, tribal drumming and Munoz Newsome’s Bjork-like vocal affectations.
Pumarosa is definitely no original but who is? If anything, at least they’re borrowing from the right sources.
Tags: Audio Junkie, BEAST, Henry Brown, icholas Owen, Isabel Munoz-Newsome, Manila Bulletin, Manila Bulletin Entertainment, mb.com.ph, Neville James, Pumarosa, Pumarosa music gives off primal feels, Tomoya Suzuki, “Priestess”, “The Witch”