Liberty & Entropy
Key Tracks: ‘Streak of Coldness,’ ‘Bent’
You can fight the sense of foreboding that washes over you when an album opens with a two-octave keyboard and random thunder – it signals a rough ride over some very dubious production. And unfortunately, Kolkata-based Dark Project falls perfectly in line with those expectations – it’s the perfect example of a band coming undone by the quality of their production.
To be fair, Dark Project has a handful of good (even if derivative) tunes on their sophomore album, Liberty & Entropy. They work a few good vocal harmonies on the piano ballad ‘Bent,’ the opening SOS Morse code that bleeds into the guitar is brilliant and quite a few songs have memorable hooks. But the good news ends there. Listen to the entire album and you’ll be left referencing far too many bands, like the vocal line on ‘Streak of Coldness’ that recalls Dream Theater’s ‘Pull Me Under,’ the mid-song humming in ‘Fly’ that’s sounds like it’s out of Alice in Chains’ ‘Rooster’ and the same song’s Train-meets-Alanis Morissette styling that’s just plain uncomfortable. Some songs (like ‘Silent Lover’ with its ticking-clock opening reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s ‘Time’), also find themselves in that awkward position of not being upbeat enough or interesting enough to sustain themselves over two minutes and as a result drag listlessly to their conclusion. But the biggest gripe – at the risk of being repetitive – is the production. The band are justifiably proud that the album is a DIY effort; unfortunately for that to work it has to be able to compete with the international-quality recordings being put out by Indian bands today. The rhythm guitars are buried so deep in the mix that it shows up as white noise, the vocals are very pitchy in places, the drums are flat and lifeless to the point of dreariness, and in some songs parts have been panned so sharply it makes your ears pop – it’s a huge turn-off for listeners.
In totality, Dark Project has all the right ideas and definitely shows promise; all they need is someone to nurture their sound and point them towards the right direction musically. My advice to the band – go forth and re-produce.