REVIEW: UDD’s SELF-TITLED ALBUM

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Seven years after the UDD’s last studio album Capacities, the band finally decided to drop the long-awaited follow-up to their critically-acclaimed 2012 release. While Capacities seemed to focus on the magic of true love while referencing the pains of being in a romantic relationship, the band decided to develop those themes of heartbreak and make it the primary, enveloping concept of their latest endeavor – a well-rounded, well-written, and well-produced loose concept album. 

When I first listened to the album, I was a little surprised (in a good way) by intro track Fool Truth’s saxophone that introduced the whole record, an instrument I wasn’t particularly expecting to hear from UDD. Indeed, the band had more than just gone through a name change, but also left the quasi-experimental electronic sound of Capacities, the pop-punkish vibes of Fragmented and Bipolar, and progressed into a more radio-friendly, yet uncategorizable, pop sound that draws inspiration from many genres, but pop music at its very core.

While Capacities seemed to focus on the magic of true love while referencing the pains of being in a romantic relationship, the band decided to develop those themes of heartbreak and make it the primary, enveloping concept of their latest endeavor – a well-rounded, well-written, and well-produced loose concept album. 

UDD proves that they prioritize quality over quantity. Each song develops on the production and lyrical themes established by preceding tracks and ends with smooth transitions into the next ones. This only shows that UDD does not rush art, making sure to really take the time and deliver the next best thing in their already-astounding repertoire.

With this fourth studio album, UDD exercises a very unique genre-bending that not very many bands or musicians could do. Much of the production and sound design takes inspiration from 70s and 80s pop, rock, and disco, with the use of analog synths, synthesized strings and brass, and the strong presence of groovy discotheque bass lines. While heavily inspired by the sounds of previous musical eras, the record also evolves into a modernized combination of jazz, synthpop, alternative rock, soul, and R&B. The album’s genre is essentially indescribable, and it only shows that the band members are artists who have already mastered their craft. Genre-bending is one hard task to pull off, especially when a musician desires to be both radio-friendly and unique at the same time, but UDD surpasses with flawless sound design, thoughtful production, and careful precision. 

Just like the production, the lyrics and songwriting do not disappoint as well. Armi sings on Say Nothing, “Oh, the promises, they have been broken / Oh, some things return and some words were left unspoken / Cause we’re just people being people / Now there’s no starting all over again / Cause nothing really matters anymore.” There is, indeed, a very deep pathos surrounding the entire record that is rooted deeply in emotional and relational experiences. Though we have heard many breakup songs in our lives, UDD brings a very grounded perspective to the breakup song that reveals the painful side of relationships but leaves the listener with a hopeful whim that true love is still worth it even though it hurts sometimes.

UDD proves that they prioritize quality over quantity. Each song develops on the production and lyrical themes established by preceding tracks and ends with smooth transitions into the next ones.

The album is also more than just a record about relationships, maturity, and heartbreak. It is clearly a tribute to those who have stuck by their side throughout their journey. Serving as a milestone for how far the band has come in 15 years, it is an ode to the truest of fans who have supported every release, every trial, every success, and every evolution.

Deserving multiple listens, plays, and streams, their self-titled effort leaves the listener wanting more and more and more of UDD. Poignant, sentimental, and groovy, UDD’s fourth studio release proves to be their best work yet that is a satisfying, emotional rollercoaster ride and a major landmark for the iconic OPM band. Easily one of my most favorite albums of 2019…and maybe even of all time.

 

REVIEWER’S RATING: 5/5 stars

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ABOUT THE REVIEWER: 

Yanan Melo is a Filipino writer, artist, musician, and producer. Hailing from Chicago, he continues to reach his audiences in the Philippines through social media and other means. He hopes to inspire others to use their gifts and talents, especially creatively, as to not put them to waste.
 
Melo has always been a music buff and is deeply in love with the Filipino indie music scene. This is why he chose to write for Indie Manila which is a community that he believes could make an impact locally and internationally through promoting the creative and artistic prowess of the Filipino.

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