February 19, 2010
After immersing myself in the music of Outerhope (both live and on record) I quickly invited the siblings for the first time to perform at The POP Shoppe! It happened one humid Thursday evening at Saguijo last February 4. The gig was designed for them requiring bands under Lilystars to do acoustic sets for a change and we called it “Pleasantries and Quiet Reflections.”
Outerhope has a new album out I so immensely adore. A self-released sophomore effort. Listening to “A Day For The Absent” is a walk in the park, sending beautiful signals to my daydreaming-prone-state-of-mind. The melodies, both straightforward and intricate, perfectly combines with eloquent lyricism with harmonies that readily invites a young butterfly out of it’s cocoon. The instrumentation and arrangements may sound minimalistic but it persuasively display soulful craftsmanship.
I randomly asked Antonette, one of my partners in Lilystars, why she likes Outerhope. This was her reply: “Outerhope’s music brings back a lot of my childhood memories. The long drives to Bulacan with my family. Playing in the rice fields during summer with my brothers and cousins, riding bikes, catching dragonflies and frogs.” A delightful imagery.
Their live sets pretty much sound like the record, an acquired taste for gig goers, expecting loud music ending up being surprised at the confident and undisturbed stillness of Mike and Micaela while performing allowing listeners to focus on what’s happening as they strike their instruments and the intimate conjunction of voices that reverberates and fills the small place. Another one of those bands that will thrive on discovery and word of mouth for discerning listeners.
After a brief but exciting discussion with Mike about their new release, “A Day For The Absent” will most likely be the first non-Lilystars album we will offer to distribute in our Mailorder Shop. As the desire to make accessible such an inspiring and astounding effort by the strangely paired and down to earth siblings would be out of keeping for us not to consider. In the meantime you can grab a copy at Fully Booked stores in Manila or better yet in any of their gigs.
Below are some of the original tracks Outerhope performed. I particularly liked “Twenty Years From Now” which has been my last song syndrome since I first saw them live.
The Story So Far – Outerhope
Twenty Years From Now – Outerhope
A Day For The Absent (October 2009)
1. An Unsual Line of Sight
2. Lost in Numbers
3. Twenty Years from Now
4 .The One I Like
5. The Story So Far
6. Anna Gabrielle
7. We Have Somewhere Else to Go
8. A Day for the Absent
9. The Man with the Pipes
10. Cabbage and Cauliflower
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Outerhope was created in the summer of 2004, when siblings Mike and Micaela Benedicto started working on songs made sparingly with a guitar, an electric piano, and a lot of vocal harmony. They were inspired by stacks of old children’s records, lost tales and limericks, and songs of folk artists from the 60s. Their first studio recording was the album Strangely Paired, released independently in 2005 and re-released by Terno Recordings in 2006. Outerhope’s second album, A Day for the Absent, was released in October 2009.