Album Review: Suraj Mani – The Tattva Trip
The former Motherjane frontman comes into his own on solo debut
One of the things that Kochi band Motherjane used to be known for was its songwriting. While the music was undoubtedly important, the lyrics were equally key and the man behind these lyrics was vocalist Suraj Mani.
Mani, who had to leave the band in November 2011 due to a bad back condition, is now back with his first solo album, The Tattva Trip. Given his distinctive voice ”“ and the evocative songwriting ”“ when you start listening to The Tattva Trip, you would be forgiven for thinking it is a Motherjane album, albeit stripped down. The album’s biggest appeal in fact lies in this “stripped-down” quality. It just puts Mani’s voice up front and centre and even though he’s been out of the live circuit for well over a year, his voice is still as captivating as it was.
With its sparse yet cinematic arrangements, The Tattva Trip is meant for immersive listening. This is not an album you want to pop into your car’s CD player while on a long drive ”“ at least not when you are still getting familiar with the songs. This, instead, is a record you want to listen to on your hi-fidelity headphones, while browsing through the accompanying book (only if you get the special edition though) and nursing a drink, allowing slow-paced beauties like “Whole” and “Your Epitaph” to slide their way into your head. That’s not to say this album is devoid of energy of more upbeat tracks. The rearranged “The Tribes of Babel” is every bit as punchy as the original Motherjane single. “Rise Up” is a medium-paced bouncy rabble-rouser.
The Tattva Trip is an album that will probably not grab your attention from the first listen, but give it a couple of spins and it will grow on you.
Key Tracks: “The Gift”, “Your Epitaph”
This review appeared in the July 2013 edition of Rolling Stone IndiaÂ