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Sunday, August 20, 2023

Newsletter: Sponge Cola finds connection in uncertain times on ninth studio album, Hometown, Part 2


Filipino alt-rock outfit Sponge Cola has officially dropped their ninth studio album, Hometown, Part 2 via Sony Music Entertainment.

Embracing the anthemic immediacy of their 2022 outing with newfound warmth and restraint, the four-piece band’s latest album proves to be a vital example of how music can be a therapeutic outlet for expression and healing. The new collection of songs also sees the band exploring themes of triumph over adversity, resilience, and unfulfilled relationships. It also serves as a continuation of the band’s full-length album, Hometown—released in December 2022.

As lead guitarist Armo Armovit describes it, Hometown, Part 2 is all about finding connection in uncertain times. “We explored new ways of expressing familiar feelings with renewed perspectives incorporating different production elements, arrangement choices, and improved approaches to performance.”

The title also speaks for itself, serving as a continuation of one’s story, much like coming home to rest after a long journey and staying an extra weekend to reset. The record’s songwriting, on the other hand, was inspired by the members’ collective and individual fascination with K-drama and documentaries, as well as first-hand experiences with real-life events.

Drawing a lot of inspiration from pop and electronic elements, the 19-track album is produced by constant collaborator Joey Santos of Love One Another Studios, who has worked with some of the biggest and most underrated Philippine acts, including Ang Bandang Shirley, syd hartha, Coeli, and more.

Armo explains, “Joey Santos did a great job crafting the treatment for songs and dressing them in colors and styles that best express the message. The process was very organic and natural.”

Hometown, Part 2 is accompanied by the release of its focus track, “So Close,” which features pop singer Morissette. The song was specifically penned by Yael Yuzon, and tackles the story of two people who have built a deep connection over time, but whose relationship never really progressed into something that could last a lifetime.

“It's a song that took me 20 years to write,” shares vocalist and guitarist Yael Yuzon. “Inspired by Dead Stars by Paz Marquez Benitez and The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, So Close talks about the possibility of a mirage in our poetic memory, a ‘what if’ that may have been nothing more than a light radiating from a dead star. We might just be romanticizing things.”

Other songs in the album include previous releases “Labis-labis,” a soaring tune that puts a uniquely captivating but relatable spin on the ‘love song’ format; “Hometown,” a grungy pop track with electronic textures and a catchy chorus; and “Siguro nga,” a pop-rock ballad based on a character study of a popular K-drama character. 

Track list:
1. Hometown
2. Alamat (MLBB 5th Anniversary Theme)
3. Kung Ako ang Pumiling Tapusin Ito
4. Lumipas Ang Tag-araw
5. Laman Ng Panaginip
6. Labis-Labis
7. Siguro Nga
9. Kung May Oras Ka
10. Signal #4
11. So Close (feat. Morissette)
12. Champions
13. In the End
14. Labis-Labis - Acoustic
15. Kung Ako ang Pumiling Tapusin Ito (Remix) (feat. Matthaios and Clien of ALLMO$T)
16. Kung Ako ang Pumiling Tapusin Ito - Acoustic
17. Siguro Nga – Acoustic (feat. Kai Honasan)
18. Siguro Nga (TMAC's lo-fi Mix)
19. Laman ng Panaginip – Acoustic

Sponge Cola’s Hometown, Part 2 is out on all digital music platforms worldwide via Sony Music Entertainment. 


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