After four years of anticipation, Up Dharma Down finally releases their much-awaited 3rd album, Capacities. “It’s like we had a four-year-old baby in our bellies and finally, its here” muses Armi Millagre. And we tell you, that it’s really worth the wait. And if the band’s comparing it to a baby, we dare say that Capacities is indeed a golden child.
Unlike their previous albums Fragmented and Bipolar, the band’s third installment Capacities is less laced with electronic eurhythmics, but still retains the bands’ signature sound. We'd go so far as to call it a throwback with the record's heavy 80’s synth-pop influence.
The album opens up with the cut, "Turn It Well," the albums’ lead single which is currently receiving its share of play time on the radio and clicks on YouTube. "Turn It Well" opens up with a pleasant layer of opening synths held in place by a one-two beat, 80’s-sounding guitar parts resonating in intervals. A perfect opener for an album. Imagine it playing seconds after hopping in the car for an epic joyride.
Music Video of "Turn It Well"
"Luna" carries a subtle tone from start to finish, with the rich bass dynamic driving it forward . Plus, Armi’s vocals effectively conveys the delicateness of the track even more. Pang-duyan ‘ika nga. Next up is the sway-inducing "Parks" with its clear verses, resonating synths, pitch-distorted guitar riffs, and well-timed vocals--a personal favorite of ours.
"Indak" is Up Dharma Down at their most familiar, treating us to their signature catchy but nuanced musical arrangement. Next is the track "Feelings" that honestly caught us by surprise, with its haunting aura. "Kulang" gives off an 80’s Pinoy-pop vibe with whimsical synthesizers and electronic beats. "Tadhana" follows, which if you've been following local TV is already semi-popular since it's used in a fantasy-themed teleserye about witches and sorcerers. "Night Drops" caps off the album, being true to its 80’s influence. Complete with its semi-faded voice echo, rich synthesizers, beat pattern and overall melody, you can even mistake it as a real song from the said era.
Overall, Capacities sees the band embracing their roots, their first influences, while daring to take their sound forward. It ends up having more solidified arrangements, clearer content, and a very unique mesh of instruments resulting in another remarkable and fresh album. Some say the best music era was the '80s, Up Dharma Down’s thinking of reliving that vibe. And with Capacities, their four-year-in-the-womb-baby, finally here, we think they’re dead serious.
PHOTO: KENCH GENATO