Where they’re from: Manila, Philippines
Genre: indie pop
When they started: 2005
Most Similar: Belle and Sebastian, Allo Darlin’, Ida
Sounds Like: Twee-gaze from a peaceful heart
Favorite Lyrics: “To the tune of the old days.”
During Outerhope’s US debut at this year’s NYC Pop Fest, the audience was treated to the airy brother/sister vocals and intricate duets for guitar and synthesizer of Micaela and Michael Benedicto. The Manila duo’s tale-spinning lyrics were just as sweetly winding as the melodies, with a spirit both youthful and nostalgic. Though there were surprising complexities in their gently swaying tunes, each one fell on the ear like a soft breeze. Specifically, they fell on the ear like the kind of soft breeze that smells nice, like the outdoors.
The Benedicto siblings form one of those plugged-in bands that nevertheless evoke the outdoors with everything they do. There’s an organic quality to their shoegazey washes of sound, but, unlike the post-rock bands that paint starlit vistas with their guitar epics, Outerhope recreates the sunny, warm outdoors of all those summers you can’t quite remember.
On recordings like their recently released No End in Sight EP, the delicate layers and sound shadings create a particularly peaceful mood. Letting the twinkling synth and soft blushes of guitar fuzz ebb and flow is a pastime akin to watching drifting clouds or a beautiful sunset over the ocean. It’s soothing, but you couldn’t ever call it dull.
Certainly, no one who saw them at Pop Fest was bored. The audience was stilled, hushed, maybe even a little entranced, but not bored. No one yawns in the presence of a natural wonder.
Watch them live in New York: