Goodbye, Orange Lemons: hello Kenyo!
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - March 10, 2008 - 12:00am

Here is bad news for fans of Orange & Lemons who had been hoping that the members of the band would still be able to patch up their differences. It is now official. Singer and guitarist and also former Pinoy Big Brother Celebrity Edition 2 housemate McCoy Fundales, bassist JM Del Mundo and drummer Ace Del Mundo have now put their Orange & Lemons identities in permanent storage.

They still make up a band but they now want to be known as Kenyo. The name comes from Bulakenyo. You know, kenyo as in Bulakenyo. There is Bulakenya, so why not Bulakenyo as a tribute to Bulacan where they all come from.

Those familiar with the local music scene know the story. Some years ago, there was this band that called itself Orange & Lemons because it had made its purpose to provide the right sort of musical nourishment to today’s listeners. And the group did for a while, thanks to the prodigious songwriting output of singer and guitarist Clem Castro and McCoy.

Orange & Lemons first made a splash with Love in the Land of Rubber Shoes and Dirty Ice Cream. Then it had hit singles like Hanggang Kailan (Umuwi Ka Na Baby), Abot Kamay and Heaven Knows (This Angel Has Flown), from the second album Strike Whilst the Iron is Hot. Then the group struck big time with the most played and most remembered song of three years ago, Pinoy Ako from the first season of the voyeuristic TV series Pinoy Big Brother. After that it was up, up and away for Orange & Lemons.

Orange & Lemons got to do a shampoo commercial with Abot Kamay. This was followed by the theme from the movie Blue Moon, the Rodgers and Hart standard, which proved that musically the band had the chops to take on anything. Even better was the group’s version of the Manila Sound classic Yakap sa Dilim, which I believe is one of the best cuts in the tribute album to the Apo Hiking Society. Moonlane Gardens, the third album came last year. It had a song titled The Story Must Come to a Sudden End, written by Clem and McCoy, that turned out to be prophetic.

Then just like what the fruits the group members named themselves after do in real life, the musical Orange and the Lemons all went sour. Fans sadly remember McCoy’s statement. “This part of the story must come to a sudden end. Someone has to fade. It’s almost time for a new day after all.” Clem said no. No way he was going to fade. He was still very much a part of the band, despite having missed some gigs. And that was it. Until last week when Kenyo and the CD Radiosurfing came along.

Then surprise! Kenyo is making its debut with an album of covers. Nice because it shows these guys are concerned about the future of their band. They want to succeed and CDs of cover versions seem to be all that sell these days. On the other hand though, there remains the specter of Orange & Lemons, which made its mark with originals. If Kenyo wants to succeed, it should also come out with its own originals. Pronto. That is the only way to make one’s mark and stay in the music business.

Take note however that Radiosurfing is a well thought out, sleek piece of work. The sweet pop sound of the past is very much present and the ingenious arrangements make the album a delight to listen to. Kenyo wanted to create a musical scrapbook of radio-friendly hits from the ’80s and it succeeded. Listening to Radiosurfing does feel like listening to the radio and turning the dial in search of the right station. The result of that is getting bits and pieces of various songs. And that is what Radiosurfing has.

Cuts included are Radio, Putting on the Ritz, Sana, Love Me, Reality, Your Eyes, Let Me In, Kiss on My List, Ayoko Na Sa ‘yo, Love Me (Lightly), Don’t Worry Be Happy and HBK. These are just the titles of the main songs because inside each are more songs, meshed, melded or layered over each other. These range from works by Florante to Mike Francis to Rey Valera and others. It is varied, interesting fare but Kenyo cleverly turned it into a cohesive whole.

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