The Dragonfly Collector Reviewed

by Eric Brightwell
March 30, 2015 | Amoeblog / Amoeba Music

Clementine Castro recently released his solo debut under the name Dragonfly Collector. Castro also was the leader of the popular bands, Orange and Lemons and The Camerawalls.

Dragonfly Collector

Orange and Lemons released three albums in the 2000s (Love in the Land of Rubber Shoes and Dirty Ice Cream (2003), Strike whilst the Iron Is Hot (2005), Moonlane Gardens (2007)) which married1960s pop psych to 1980s jangle pop. Though hailing from Bulacan, their sound had more in common with bands from the England’s north like Care, The Beautiful SouthLightning Seeds, Pale Fountains,The Smiths, and The Beatles than they apparently did with most of their Filipino peers. After their indie debut, Orange and Lemons signed with Universal but disbanded after their second major label release.Castro next formed The Camerawalls with Law Santiago (bass guitar) and Bach Rudica (drums).  Some of the Anglo affectations which sometimes rendered Orange and Lemons a bit precious were wisely were turned down a notch and in their place was an apparently more organic but still adventurous sound — especially the influence of rondalla ensembles reflected in the rich warmth of the banduria andoctavina. At the same time, the newly-embraced low-key approach had much in common with bands likeScotland’s Belle & Sebastian and Australia’s Lucksmiths. The Camerawalls released Pocket Guide to the Otherworld (2008) and the EP, Bread and Circuses (2010) and Castro founded his own record label, Lilystars Records.

The name “Dragonfly Collector” seems likely derived from John Fowles’s English novel, The Collector(1963), which was adapted into a classic American film of the same name by William Wyler in 1965, and subsequently referenced by The Jam’s 1979 song “Butterfly Collector.” That winding, circuitous, path seems appropriate as Dragonfly Collector is the work of a adventurous songwriter who continues to find his own voice even as he seeks, incorporates, and syncretizes them into something familiar but new.

The first single from the album, “There is No Remaining in Place,” wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the Camerawalls’ album but is a good indication of the new album’s emotionally-heightened ambiance. Other contributing musicians include Christine Mazur (cello), Jojo Gatmaitan (drums), Kakoy Legaspi (electric guitars), Wowee Posadas (piano, keyboards), and Vengee Gatmaitan (bass). Oranges & Lemons Day may’ve already passed (the third Thursday of March) but fans of Clementine’s should enjoy The Dragonfly Collector.

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