Anak Ko is the second full-length studio record from indie rock band, Jay Som. Translating to "My Child" from the Filipino Tagalong language is a beautiful pursuit by Melina Duterte.
Written, arranged, composed, engineered and mixed by Duterte, the album’s mood is reminiscent of a late 90s and early 2000s indie movie soundtrack, as if Duterte is channelling Wilco and others alike. It is champagne-like in its bubbly nature; however, it holds more meaning than just your favorite run-of-the-mill pop song. The mysticism of this collection is a testament to the growing pains associated with being in your 20s; holding elements of betrayal, understanding and forgiveness.
Key gems illuminate in their major chords, yet juxtapose an almost melancholic tenderness that is usually found in shoegaze. “Nighttime Drive,” for example, is a sunny ballad that screams nostalgia. You can almost picture yourself in the van driving down the 101. Its lyricism holds the confliction of both leaving the comfort of your bed and longing for more, while simultaneously giving the listener the perfect song to smoke and drive to.
Title track, “Anak Ko,” is an artistic feat. The song is about the coming undone of oneself in life or in love, which is then mimicked by the structure of the song itself. It starts off slowly, entering the liminal space of what could be and what isn’t, then builds to a stormy amalgamation of sound and vibration until a dark breaking point. Halfway through, a change in mood is created; when the acoustic playing comes to an end and the synth comes out, it’s as if a storm has come and gone, finally passing over the melancholy. “Anak Ko” presents the ability to create a duality in a musical experience and is a song that should be praised.
Anak Ko, though primarily done by Duterte, features a family of friends and loved ones who have contributed musically. On "Peace Out," we hear deep harmonizing vocals of Dylan Allard, touring Jay Som bassist. Also featured are fellow touring bandmates, Oliver Pinnell (vocals and guitar) and Zachary Elsasser (drums), whose musicianship is dispersed throughout the album as well. Sprinkles of other contributors include Boy Scouts' Taylor Vick, Vagabon's Laetitia Tamko, Chastity Belt's Annie Truscott and Justus Proffit.
In previous albums, Duterte seems to be searching for a sound. Valiant efforts do not go unrecognized, the power and validity shown in Anak Ko really exemplify her growth as a musician. Relatable intimacy in this work soars. I cannot wait to see what’s next.
Sam Klainberg is a junior at Pratt Institute who spends her time making playlists and looking at art. Her love for music stemmed from her father and the diversity of his record collection.