by Aldus Santos
August 4, 2014 – Pinoytuner / Digradio
Clem Castro, local indie-pop chameleon (I wanted to say “Pinoy indie-pop Meryl Streep” but that would have been weird and confusing) resurfaces anew as Dragonfly Collector. Castro’s newest iteration, his first since the quiet fizzling-out of The Camerawalls, is a celebration of singer-songwriter fare in the vein of Elliott Smith, et al., which is to say you might have to shut the f*ck up and pay close attention when you see him in coffee-shop shows—the performances, when he chooses to do them sans band at least, can get quite hushed and extremely nuanced. In short, it’s not for the loud, chatty, beer-guzzling set; in short, it’s not for the party animals, unless your idea of a “party” is trading sob stories and comparing heartbreak notes. Castro’s singing may have approached twee territory in the past—mostly because of the shadow the accompanying music casts—but on this, “Someday, Someday, Maybe,” he is simply all heart, all breath, all pained resignation. Actually, strike the “simply,” because there is nothing standard in pulling off an emotional heist in bright clothes, which is what Castro does, in a manner of speaking. The guitar work echoes the vocal melody—fit to a T and all that—while the plaintive lyrics drip like honey, if they’re not already flowing like tears: “Maybe tomorrow you’ll see me / Maybe tomorrow I’m older, wiser / Maybe I’ll deserve you / Maybe what you feel is more than a maybe.”
We’re not entirely sure how close the exclusive Pinoytuner performance of said song is to the intended arrangement, but if we’re good judges of anything, it’s that if a song is executed in the most naked guitar-and-voice manner and sounds good, it’s good. No modulation pedals, no reverb, no nothing. Clem, in his different musical outfits, has openly exhibited his different affinities—to Lennon, to Morrissey and Marr, to The Housemartins—but on “Someday, Someday, Maybe,” a singular vision reigns. Okay, maybe there are mild strains of “Julia”/”Dear Prudence”-style Lennon, and maybe some “America”-style Paul Simon thrown in, but done well, you can’t go wrong with those models. Taken side by side with previous single “There is No Remaining in Place,” the track appears to be part of a disc-length exploration of minor-chord major feels, of downtime balladry.