Crunchy guitar sound, a typically Bollywood style of singing, a slight stint with Sufi music, and a heavy dose of Indian percussion sums up the second self-titled album by the Indi-rock band Bandish, released last week.
After a break of almost five years, since their debut with Kaise Kahoon in 2005, Bandish is back but with yet another risky venture. Ace drummer and one of India’s best percussionists Chris Powell (a former band member of Euphoria), who founded this band, believes in the album’s commercial viability inspite of the flak it has received from critics.
HT City caught up with Powell to know what makes Bandish stand out in the ocean of music. “The album lacks a distinct style, but I wanted to treat every song with authenticity. It wouldn’t have been fair if I would have asked vocalist Deepak Nair to sing a Sufi song,” said Powell.
When questioned about the risk of being labelled a run-of-the-mill Bollywood album, Powell replied impromptu, “How can we get out of that influence ever? Music labels wouldn’t take the risk of bringing out an independent band’s album if they don’t have some masala in it.
We couldn’t include some great tracks in it due to this constraint.” Now, coming back to the the band’s claim of calling it a rock album, all that we can say is, don’t judge an album by its cover, which stands true, for this particular album.
Tracking the style
The first track Tere Bin by Bollywood singer KK is a big let down. It sounds like a romantic rock ballad, but the obvious tilt towards Bollywood is a big disappointment.
The title track Bandish, with its fast-paced tabla bol (notations), is beautifully rendered by world-renowned percussionist Pete Lockett. The classical touch fused with rock beats in this track, comes across harmoniously.
But your happiness won’t last long, which you will know once you reach the fourth track.
The sufi number, Khuda Baksh by Krishna, sounds soulful. It is so sufiana that one hardly misses the fact that it is anywhere but near to any Hindi rock number.
You can easily skip the fourth track, just a remixed version of KK’s Tere Bin. Just a filler, this one could have been easily done away with. As Powell pointed out, “It is a call taken by the music label and not the band.”
The fifth track Meethi Baatein Teri is a slow soft number, and in no way resembles rock. It sounds more like the 80s’ Bollywood music. The sixth track is a breather. An English number with beautiful lyrical rendition by Chris Powell, it is the ultimate winner.
The second last track, Mahi, by Krishna, is neither imaginative nor creative. And finally Dummadum, the live tribute, is by far the best. Overall, the album offers variety — sufi, rock ballad, Bollywood. Priced at 150.