The self-titled debut EP from the Manila’s Public Places was released last month via Catshelf Records. I am not sure how I missed it given Cinéma Lumière are labelmates but the EP has been picked up by the Shenzhen based label BoringProductions which sees the band getting released on vinyl for the first time.
The label describes the band as “the new outstanding power from indie-pop scene of Manila” and based on the evidence here (hear?) you can understand how and why they came to that conclusion. The band draw on the obvious C86 and other 1980’s indie influences and I have to admit at times it sounds like they are following a formula. However, dig a bit deeper and you can hear them stamping their own ideas onto their sound which will no doubt get stronger as they progress. It is their debut release after all.
They are at their most effective when they mix it up a little. The 1960’s organ sound and the additional vocals of Mimin Pasion on Love Song gives the song a distinctive edge whilst the feelgood sunshine pop of Things Are Always Going To Be Okay gets my feet tapping in harmony with the melodies. The vinyl surface noise effect at the start and end of the song is a nice touch too.
Don’t get me wrong. The other songs here are enjoyable and strong enough but they stick to the same C86/Sarah Records template as many before them have done and it would be nice to have some edge to the songs just to cut into my consciousness further. Of course, I am an old git now and I appreciate this sound may be new to others. That said I would like to hear some new ideas now and again when it comes to bands influenced by the classic 1980s indie-pop sound. Others have done it and I am sure Public Places will because of the promises this EP has brought.
Public Places is available in 10” lathe cut vinyl and digital formats via the label. You can order it from here.