Sleepy but never sloppy, this beautiful EP entitled “Hypermnesia” from CDO quintet Svvell. is forged from happy-sad fires (the best fires if you ask us). Give it a spin if you like down-tempo The Smiths and existentialist crises set to music.
Between kindred spirits there’s more than sparks. There’s exhilaration, sure. But also, ironically, bloodcurdling terror: like Narcissus in reverse, aghast at discovering the self in a body other than their own. I imagine Svell. coalescing with Lilystars must have evoked a similar sense of discovery from both ends.
If the shoe fits and all that.
And what a stunning introduction to the Cagayan de Oro band Hypermnesia is: melodically inspired, lyrically distant, and always with a stylish languor. Their tunes of “isolation amidst the business of suburban life” started, by their own admission, as a messy heap of odds and ends. But when they began cracking the whip on arrangement, everything came together.
“The writing process [for Hypermnesia] can be called a free-spirited process,” the band says in a statement. They add that while singer-guitarist Yoo Han often walked into composition sessions with riffs and melodies in tow, his collaborators would mostly counter with inspiring parts from which to build further.
“We always make sure we imprint our sound [into] each of our parts,” they expound.
At first spin, the quintet is like a down-tempo The Smiths—more “Half a Person” and “Well I Wonder” than “This Charming Man”—but their three-guitar framework careens closer to shoegaze territory. “Caress” is bouncy delay-pedal candy; “Elephant” is often introspective but never sluggish; and “People Like You” is anthemic without being laughably hyper-earnest.
Yoo Han’s pipe work is cool and calm without being stonewall-esque, and his fretwork with fellow guitarists Anton Atienza and Ralph Tan is more a lithe tennis act than underwater ballet. The rhythm section is no slouch either; though often saddled with sleepy tempos, bassist Chikent Aguilar and drummer Jonas Berol always manage to weave in their natural ornateness.
“[While] we really found our frequency as individuals, we [still] existed as one,” Svvell. stressed.
Having a blah kind of day? Give Hypermnesia a listen. Sadly it won’t pick you up (sorry) but it will make things more bearable, I promise.