Filipino indie rock quartet We Are Imaginary marks their fifteenth year of existence as a band with their fourth studio release, Swan Songs for Drifters—out on April 28, Friday via floppydisks.
According to lead vocalist/guitarist Ahmad Tanji, the songs off their new EP capture the long stretches of time in silence and reflection from 2018 to 2020—a defining era in his personal life before the entire world slowly crumbled apart due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.
“It really brought a lot of existential questions about why we are doing this,” Tanji explains. “For a moment after celebrating our 14th year as a band, I thought this is it; we are done. That moment also gave me the realization that everyone is lost – basically a drifter looking for the next pitstop.”
Despite the difficulty of finding inspiration and getting back on track, Tanji decided to reassemble the group at the height of the new normal, record two new tracks from the original lineup of five, and close ‘that’ chapter of his life with renewed perspective and wisdom. The result is a 7-track EP that is more of a vibe than an actual album, but leads listeners through on an otherwise colorful, redemptive journey.
On Swan Songs for Drifters, We Are Imaginary turns internal monologues into generation-defining anthems, showing a flair for drama and recklessness when it needs to, and stripping things back to introspective places when there’s no way out but feel the words in its state of unrecognizable frailty.
The EP contains the legacy-turning “Dekada,” originally released in 2018, as well as the pensive tune “Kawalan,” which was initially considered to be part of their third album, Death to Romanticism. Other tracks include “Durden,” a melodic, ‘90s alt-rocker with widescreen choruses and indie pop breakdowns on the verses; and “Swan Song,” a lilting folk number that captures the changes that the album longs for.
Tanji adds, “There was a conscious effort to make the vibe more cohesive this time around, compared to the previous releases where a chop suey of genres is compiled in one package. The songs are all conversations with myself with hummable choruses in reverb-drenched production.”
All of the songs in Swan Songs for Drifters were written by Ahmad Tanji, except for “Shimmer” which was co-written by his brother Khalid Tanji. The new album is also produced, mixed, and mastered by RJ Mabilin of Redverb Studio.
Swan Songs for Drifters track list:
2. Motion Sickness
3. Do You Mind?
4. Shimmer (to Your Touch)
7. Swan Song
Listen to We Are Imaginary’s Swan Songs for Drifters here.
About We Are Imaginary
We Are Imaginary gets off on marrying jangly noise with bittersweet vignettes since 2008. Think of the band Versus or Popsicle with a Morrissey fixation, if that makes sense. The Manila-based band, formerly known as Your Imaginary Friends, has already come out with two locally-acclaimed EPs before changing their name because of a trademark issue. Unfazed, they signed with the indie label Wide Eyed Records to release their highly anticipated debut LP Death to Romanticism in 2016. Bent on always challenging themselves, they came up with their first Filipino single Dekada in 2018 to celebrate their 10th year in the business. After a long break caused by the pandemic, this indierock quartet is releasing its 4th album under the exciting new label floppydisks.
The band has been everywhere – from representing their country at the 2015 Grass Tone Sound Festival (Thailand), Rocking the Region 2017 (Singapore), and 2017 Archipelago Festival (Indonesia) to opening for renowned indie pop acts such as Club 8, Moonpools & Caterpillars, and Beach Fossils – and they are itching to visit more foreign shores.
We Are Imaginary, composed of Apa Rubio (drums), Khalid Tanji (guitars), Vhall Bugtong (bass, vocals), and Ahmad Tanji (vocals, guitars), still believes in saving the world with pop songs and kebabs.
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