Has anyone seen that Morning After video on MTV? Better yet, has anyone else noticed how oddball Drip’s videos always are? We had that alien cannibalism video, the adobo cooking recipe video, and now, we have a girl with a golf cub beating up a bunch of gang-bangers (think clean thoughts, now), including Mr. Ramon Bautista (who has cameo-d in quite a few videos now).
Videos aside, the band has released very good electronic music, a mix of heavy yet still ethereal effects and Beng Calma’s haunting vocals. Their previous releases, the Drip EP and the independently released Far Side of the World, while not mainstream sellers, carved out a niche in the local music scene. Still, the band was much more of a cult hit than a major group.
The band then caught their big break through their cover of APO’s Kabilugan ng Buwan, which heightened the consciousness about the band even to the masses. Of course, there was a drawback to this newfound popularity. While their cover of Kabilugan ng Buwan was a fine rendition, it was not a Drip song. Would the band’s follow-up cater more to these newfound fans? And of course, like every other album I’ve reviewed recently (coincidence, I suppose), the band has had a lineup change, with the addition of Caliph8 on turntables. As they say, too many cooks ruin the pot. Would this be the case for Identity Theft?
Listening to the Identity Theft and Far Side of the World, it is readily apparent how the addition of Caliph8 has changed the band’s sound. The turntables are very prominent, and that has made the band sound heavier and moodier than before. The album is not as dreamy as its predecessor, but it antes up the intensity quite a few notches. What results is an album that sounds more focused, but at the same time it lacks the pleasant floatiness that made FSOTW a favorite of mine. None of the cuts in this album have the subtly entrancing sound of old Drip tracks like To You and Copy. Rather, it is the pulsating, beat-heavy cuts like Run to Follow and Swanker that dominate the album. Not a bad thing, I suppose, but any fair-weather followers might be turned off by what they might have assumed to be a more traditional rock album.
Notable tracks in the album of course include that Armi cameo in Bloodletting, which in the band’s own words was emo. It’s not the I-scream-cry-fake-tears-and- wear-eye-shadow EMO, though. Rather, the simpler, cleaner, sound, the lyrics, and the Armi-factor all contribute to a sensitive mood that is unique in Drip’s head-trip type of music. The In Between Remix, meanwhile, is a telling sign of the transition the band’s sound has gone through in between (pun not intended, really) albums. What was once a laid-back, vocally-driven track is now layered with various effects, completely shifting the mood into a darker, more desperate cut. Also deserving mention is the final tracks of the album, which in my opinion is the highlight of this release. Is Anybody Listening, the titular track Identity Theft, and recently-released single Morning After are all top-notch, with the sonic intensity heightened and the wailing vocals just pushing the mood further. Let it be known that Identity Theft is probably the best cut on the album, with the band’s vocals, effects, and lyricism all being at the top of their game.
While there have been a few notable releases this year (Taken by Cars, Rivermaya), and some yet to be released in this calendar (UDD and Bamboo), Drip’s second might just be a front-runner for some high accolades at the end of the year. Most critics have deemed this album more cohesive and basically superior to their previous effort. Personally, I miss some aspects of their old sound, but I do agree that the album is a more focused, more polished effort. That Creative Commons stuff they’re pushing is just icing on the cake. For fans of electronic music, Identity Theft is a no-brainer. For the open-minded, the album is a great way to introduce one’s self to one of the frontliners of Philippine electronic music and of the music scene in general.
For more Drip, here are some links:
and of course, their first single off the album, Morning After: