Updated 19:17 PM PHT Tue, February 7, 2017
Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — It’s been almost five years since we last heard anything from dream pop duo Outerhope — five years since the release of their EP, “No End in Sight,” which at that time the band described as a “departure from [their] earlier sound.” But one would argue that the EP still contains the sparkle and charm Outerhope is known for. People in gigs swayed to their lullabies and harmonies, and danced to the drum track in “Twenty Years from Now,” which showed how they could make a catchy hit and still stay true to their tenderness, and even to the more subdued and mellowed percussions in “No End in Sight,” which became proof of their synth prowess.
Now they’ve gone further, possibly into space, with their newest single, “Holiday.” The song puts synths at the forefront, with an arpeggiating intro swirling over gentle strings sustained constantly throughout six minutes. The “persistent arpeggio and cosmic pulse” is a nod to the future fiction of the late writer Luis Katigbak, the other half of Outerhope’s other half, vocalist Micaela Benedicto. Benedicto sings with fragility but conviction of her loss, with the synth pulses conveying fragments of remembering, and the haunting undertones turning the song into a chronicle of grief. The hidden grandiosity of the strings lie over the low ends, as constant as a monolith, like a safety net, like the wisdom and maturity of love that triumphs over death.
Six months in the making, the composition of “Holiday” is also an exercise in memory, unreliable but dependable during moments of deep sorrow, where we find a silver lining in search for meaning.
The clouds clear during the second part of the song, where percussions let loose and all the other elements merge with each other, the strings rising in pitch and fervor. One can hear, in Benedicto’s voice, her memory gaining momentum, and all at once, pain becoming acceptance.
To be released as part of their upcoming album, “Vacation,” “Holiday” is a culmination of the aforementioned songs and the albums they represent, as a call and welcome embrace to the distant future. It’s a whisper to the void, and a love letter to space, the vast unknown.