Cutting across the enduring dichotomies of heaven and hell, good and bad, the Gibbs sisters chart a triumphant return to fine form with the haunting and honest, Angel Baby.
It is a bygone time—pre-pandemic, of course—and crowding into a bar was not only still acceptable, but possible. In this once-upon-a-time hole-in-the wall slicing through two pawnshops in Cubao, a small carved out oasis of respite and ritual to many who have filed through its infamous script-framed door, the soundtrack of the night gently invades the tiled dance floor.
Much calmer than the rave-like weekends that Today x Future is known for, with a sizable population of patrons spilling to the side street, everything was more pronounced: the vibrant neon red light from the bar at the far end drenching the rest of the elongated rectangle of a room, the contrasting glints of lights bouncing from the disco ball rotating overhead, and the shadowed figures shuffling and going about their late night escape. From the mirrored elevation that is the DJs booth, which stood majestically by the entrance, there I was prepared to transition from Marina’s Primadonna to the glimmering 70s disco-laced track, No Hearts by Gibbs.
A night rid of musical pressure, it was the perfect time to introduce the sparkling song that as the title alludes to, is an encompassing exposition that studies the journey from heartbreak to no-holds-barred wisdom of self-worth. By the time the pre-chorus hit, heads were bobbing along and some slowly inching closer to the center of the dance floor dancing just as the sister duo of Chi and Gabs Gibbs switched up the sass of “I’m replacing your hearts with hate” to the savage repetition of “No hearts, no hearts, no hearts for you,” the crowd was hooked.
The coquettish charm of No Hearts never failed to make people sway along to the bopping beats, which is a true testament to the Gibbs sisters. However, as pleasant of a surprise as their foray into music was for the uninitiated, and parallel to the abrupt end of their song, they didn’t have a swift and standard follow-up to their debut—until now.
Gibbs Proudly Presents, Angel Baby
Nearly two years and a persisting pandemic since the release of their musical fantasy of retro glam pop, Chi and Gabs Gibbs are back with a vengeance with their sophomore track, Angel Baby. Before you file the gap in between singles as a creative slump or a one-hit wonder, everything was decided and deliberate from the get-go. “We could go on for years without releasing anything if we we’re not in love with it,” the sisters reveal over Zoom. “We didn’t wanna go into music unless we absolutely loved what we were putting out. Working together as a sister duo is just so organic! Like each other’s yin and yang, writing music together just feels right. We don’t know how we’d do without each other, because we fuel each other’s energy.”
Just as, if not more fiery and feisty than before, the passionate pair continues on with their fascination for all things disco, except this time, they figure into the exuberance of the 80s. With a rich reference of music from the greats such as Heart, Hall and Oates, Elton John, Abba, as well as was of modern perpetrators of the genre like Miley Cyrus, Dua Lipa, and Lady Gaga, Angel Baby is a considerable departure from the deceptively aggressive energy of No Hearts. A lot more distilled and drawling, the Moophs-produced pop fare is much more cinematic in its decelerated orchestration. (Imagine an anachronistic western and sci-fi hybrid by Quentin Tarantino.) Above all, there is a significant confidence that pulses through its polished veneer.
Thematically, the new release is a poetic take by Gibbs on empowerment and the dichotomies of good and bad, heaven and hell, and all its in-betweens. Brought to life with layers of synths, generous guitar riffs, robust basslines, and flirty falsettos, Angel Baby is a triumphant anthem that is both honest and haunting. “To us, the song is about fighting your inner demons and letting the light in,” Gibbs says of Angel Baby. “In these dark/ confusing times we’re hoping the song gives people that badass confidence to fight whatever they’re facing.”
Back, Back, Back Again
Piercing through an ominous overcast, this pure pop delight is a crack light that lingers long after the song fades out. Part Bond overture, part Lovecraft, Angel Baby is a lovechild of genres and generations that perfectly encapsulates the definitive voice and identity of Gibbs as singers, songwriters, and sisters. It may have taken a while to get here, but beyond the sequined sci-fi slasher imaginations, this is a return to fine form that came just at the right time.
It looks like it won’t be the last we’ll be seeing of Chi and Gabs, because this time, they’re not just conquering demons, their set to stake their claim as a musical force to be reckoned with. “Open up the heavens and the skies / Let me turn this darkness into light,” they sing. Oh, we’re ready for this reckoning.
Read the rest of our exclusive interview with Chi and Gabs Gibbs below:
What do your parents think of your music?
They love it! Our dad specifically has been integral in writing music. He writes with us and tweaks whatever we come up with.
What is your process like to write a song? How different is your approach, if at all, when doing your own creative pursuits?
In writing music every time is different! Sometimes we come up with melodies and hum it to each other, other times we build on a theme. I think it’s different because it’s so much more personal. I feel like we’re being more vulnerable in a way.
What did you want to do differently from No Hearts?
This time around I feel like we had our eyes set on a producer, and that was Moophs. We’ve always wanted to work with him and felt like this was the perfect project.
Why did you want to take on the theme of good vs. evil in a Death Becomes Her meets Chromatica and Plastic Hearts kind of way? How did you translate this musically and visually?
I think that’s just the state of mind we were in during quarantine! Being locked in definitely fueled our creative juices. It was a mix of everything we were obsessed with at the time. Musically, aside from the horror themes lyrically, we really left it to Moophs to translate the song into the sci-fi 80s pop track we imagined. He totally got us! Visually though we had outfits and makeup lewks in mind, it was really Simon Te and BJ Pascual that came up with the story and visuals.
What else can we expect from you two in terms of music? What are your dreams when it comes to this pursuit of passion?
Definitely release an album. We have 11+ songs we wrote that we need to make sense of. Also, we wanna perform more and be able to do festivals when the time comes.