Album Review: Mumbai’s Seasoned Axeman Pozy Dhar Makes Sunny Day Songs on Debut Record
Bright guitars, sprightly tunes and hummable hooks make ‘The Future of Yesterday’ a delightful pop package
With experience of playing guitar in as many as half a dozen bands in the past eight years – from rock outfit Zero and jazz/funk bands led by Shefali Alvares and Clinton Cerejo to Anushka Manchanda’s disco-rock act Shkabang! – calling Pozy Dhar versatile would probably be an understatement. Mumbai-based Pozy has been what you might call a stereotypical lead guitarist all this while – the shy, unassuming guy on stage, never one to indulge in any sort of crowd-pulling histrionics lest it bring any attention to him. And now as he makes his way into the limelight with his debut solo record [under the name Pozy], it is endearing how he has carried with him the same modesty there as well. On The Future of Yesterday, while Pozy has composed, written, arranged and played guitars on all tracks, he has brought on board his long-standing music companion Alvares to offer her vocals on all tracks as well as lyric-writing skills on a select few.
The album kicks off with the celebratory “Say,” a short and buoyant pop song which, with its bright guitars and impactful vocals, sets the tone for the rest of the record. The next track, “Mystery” shows off Alvares’s flair in bringing Pozy’s lyrics to life [“What you see ain’t what you get, mystery”] and the guitarist’s talent in creating appealing hooks.
Pozy’s own blink-and-miss vocal cameos in both songs don’t go unnoticed either; we’d really like him to sing a lot more in his next record. The Future of Yesterday switches gears with the next composition, “High,” a warm rock ballad replete with aching guitars and delicate drumming by Gino Banks. Adi Mistry underlays the track with some really good bass too. “Lemon Yellow Sun,” a mid-tempo rock composition, might not score on catchiness, but it does have some haunting keyboardist parts courtesy of Jarvis Menezes, which one witnesses again on “Runaway.” The following song, “Matters,” a soaring rock offering, features some really cool licks on the guitar as well as syncopated parts and accents, not to mention a chorus that is quite the earworm. The ease with which Pozy marries hummable, even simplistic, melodies with arrangements that take you by surprise is quite commendable. It is most apparent in “Would You” – an Avril Lavigne-style pop-rock track which, despite its unexciting melody and lyrics that feature run-of-the-mill rhyming of ‘fire’ with ‘desire,’ forces you to take note of the guitar wizardry that comes in glimpses [there are some delicious interludes on it] and Alvares’s full-throttle vocals. The singer might have nailed every single song on the album so far and even brought in a certain level of seamlessness, but we’d have liked to hear diverse voices on the record, since it is, in essence, a guitarist’s showcase. “Runaway” is a tiny little gem that is hidden too deep and far into the album. The ballad begins with only vocals and keys and towards the end, is joined by Pozy’s feisty guitars. Too bad it ends too quickly. The seventh and last song of the record is called “Farewell,” which bids a most melodic [and quick] adieu, somehow managing to leave something in the pit of the stomach.
At 25-odd minutes, The Future of Yesterday is a compact and enjoyable little record which consolidates Pozy’s position as one of the most talented guitarist on the music circuit today. We hope a longer and more diverse record is in the pipeline.
Key Tracks: “Mystery,” “Matter,” “High”
Listen to the album here.