Sunday, October 23, 2016

Album Review: Autotelic: Papunta Pabalik

Autotelic's "Papunta Pabalik" is more than just an album that you pop in your CD player to enjoy, as it represents that delicate jump from "independent music" to "mainstream" and being represented by a music label. 

We have been following the group long before the six-member electro pop band signed on to MCA music. Their catchy tunes have long played inside the different bars across the metro, often to millennials out to enjoy the night. 

Whatever music festival or event, you can expect Autotelic in the line up as they steadily became one of the most sought after bands in the local scene. 

The album has had reported incidents of running out of physical copies in record stores, all this at a time when consumers would easily prefer to download or stream albums online. 

"Who has CDs nowadays?"

-Nick Wilde, Zootopia. 

(Actually I do Nick, I still have CDs). 

So what is it with the 10 track album that has millennials (who most probably listen to music on streaming services such as Spotify) running to record bars to spend actual money on a CD-an artifact they probably don't see much of. Needless to say that the album also shot to the top of Spotify top track lists when it was released. 

Bringing back the glory of the 80's with the subtle use of synths, Autotelic brings in their own unique flavor with catchy guitar riffs and a unique play on vocals with Josh Villena's sincere shy boy persona (at least that's the vibe that I get from him, his Facebook posts and tweets are very funny) and Kai Honasan's sweet tones, creating a sound that can only be identified as theirs.

No, Ate at the Astroplus record store, they do not sound like Up Dharma Down, at all. 
(Click here to find out what that was all about) 

"Papunta Pabalik" opens strong with the catchy "Gising" whose trend setting guitar riffs, #JengJengJeng sets the tone for the "you can't help but jump and dance" track.

Nice thick bass lines smoothly transition from the stanza to the chorus. Coupled with drum rolls and hits that make you want to pseudo play drums your self. The synth compliments the song, much like whipped cream, it is both delicious and indulgent. 

When the album first came out and questions of "What's your favorite track?" started coming out, I was like a kid on Christmas Day, I couldn't choose which one was my favorite but after the excitement died down, I will settle with "Languyin" as my favorite track off the album, it steadily rises, much like the ebbing tide and reaches a high in the chorus, using infectious word play on "La-la-la-Languyin" and "La-la-la-lakbayin" to have the song playing in your head in repeat and that's actually a good thing. 

Out of the ten tracks in the album, six are original with four of the songs already released by the band in a previous LP (review here) but before you go and think that four old songs would be a waste of money, these old songs are given a new spin in the album, and the first of which would be the English track "Unstable". I liked the remastered version, which is a new twist to an old favorite. I wasn't a fan of "Misteryoso" 2.0 though as I felt that they overdid it with the synths and layers. But at least now, we have different versions of the song right? And taking a cue from Japanese Pop Star Ayumi Hamasaki, who dominated the charts in the early 2000 with multiple versions of singles and albums, this is not a bad start for the band. 

Crowd favorite "Dahilan" was given new life and I think the band took lessons from their live performances, injecting that "Whooooo!" as if the crowd didn't know what to do. 

"Laro" is an interesting song, I love how it opens steadily with the insistent guitar riffs. The lyrics are either a genius comparison of a relationship to Filipino games or could possibly come off as a little corny, sometimes it's one and sometimes it's the other. Paul singing "Tatay mong kalbo" after "Isa, Dalawa, Tatlo" doesn't help at all. 

But it's a unique song with very creative lyrics I will give it that and the line "Isa, Dalawa, Tatlo. Iiwanan mo ako." Just breaks hearts and brings in the "Awwwws" to a generation seemingly obsessed with "hugot lines" and believing that (there is) #WalangForever. Which is probably why the album was well received by teenagers to the late twenties demographic. Check out the #PapuntaPabalikArt to check it out. 

Album Art 

Packaged with a thick booklet featuring art by Daniel Tingcungco the album brings more bang to your buck which you can get for P280.00 only. The art is whimsical and fits with the feel of the songs, as it also tells a story through symbols, which you will probably spend time on decoding. The art cements the album's image as it offers a visual reference to the songs, which is probably what inspired fans to create their own art and anything that gets kids creating is always a plus. 

There are still a lot of gems to discover in the album but I won't spoil them for you as I want you to find that out on your own. Aside from the earlier mentioned songs, I also recommend "Mapa" and "Close Your Eyes". 

Creating their own unique sound and feel the band has successfully reached out to scores of fans, who actually take time to create artwork inspired from songs in the album. Kids whose peers would rather be listening to the latest foreign pop act than be caught dead fangirling over a local band.

Autotelic has quenched that thirst for local music to make waves in the mainstream arena once more. 

4 out of 5, "Papunta Pabalik" is available at Astroplus stores and can be streamed on Spotify. 

1 comment:

  1. When I first listened to them, (months after they released their previous record We Are Autotelic) I said to myself they are the next to his the pop music scene soon.

    Now they have Papunta Pabalik, now backed by MCA Music, Autotelic lived up to the promise. Proud of them. Comparing Unstable to Misteryoso -- and even Close Your Eyes (from the one they had in Jack Daniels On Stage), it wasn't just an overhaul, that proved the evolution of their sound.