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Album Review: Nischay Parekh ”“ Ocean

Kolkata pop artist Nischay Parekh makes his way through his debut album swimmingly

Anurag Tagat Oct 16, 2013
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Parekh and drummer Jivraj Singh at NH7 Weekender, Bengaluru last year. Photo: Vivek Manek

Parekh and drummer Jivraj Singh at NH7 Weekender, Bengaluru last year. Photo: Vivek Manek

[easyreview cat1title = Ocean cat1rating = 4]

On the 15th time we play “Ocean,” the title track from Kolkata pop artist Nischay Parekh on his debut album, Ocean, there’s the realization that it’s got pop hooks you’re not going to tire of very easily. Vibrant synth lines and basic drum grooves with simple guitar riffs perfectly complement Parekh’s clean, easy vocals. 

As an instrumentalist, Parekh learnt to play the guitar when he was 11, but as a songwriter, the unpretentious lyrics reflect both a youthfulness and maturity. On “Philosophize,” Parekh sings, “There are thoughts and there are worries/Sometimes it feels like my heart is in a hurry/I’ve got a New York state of mind/In Indian standard time.” It’s evident that the singer is trying to find his own sound but there are tracks that call for inevitable comparisons. “I Love You Baby, I Love You Doll,” is  where Parekh’s vocals sound closest to American singer-songwriter Jason Mraz.  Meanwhile, “Me and You” has all the makings of a Jack Johnson love song. Parekh goes psychedelic on songs like “Hill” and “Secrets,” which sound like Animal Collective filler songs.

A longer track like the four-minute “Ghost” take a while to grow on you because Parekh swaps pop hooks for R&B vocals. It’s when Parekh and his collaborators [drummer Jivraj Singh, bassist Pedro Zappa and pianist George Matthew Dylan Varner-Hartley] bring out “Panda” [inspired by English Romantic poet William Blake] that we realize producer Miti Adhikari, who also mixed the album, has played a key role in shaping the album.

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Ocean is that perfect debut album because it’s not just all about the hooks. The album also showcases Parekh’s versatility, but more importantly, it establishes that he adds soul to his music, a quality that has been missing in most recent releases that we’ve heard.

Key tracks: “Ocean,” “Panda”

Stream Ocean below

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