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Blek – Hexes + Drama & Other Reasons For Evacuation ★★★1/2

Mumbai boys bring the drama on debut

Deepti Unni May 18, 2012
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One of the more refreshing sounds to come out of Mumbai’s burgeoning rock scene in 2010, Blek are a three- piece pop-grunge dance-punk outfit featuring Rishi Bradoo on vocals, Jared Creado on bass and Split’s Varoon Aiyer on drums.

On their debut EP Hexes + Drama and Other Reasons For Evacuation, the band’s songs run the gamut from Nirvana-tinted grunge rock to slow-burning dance-punk. The blissed-out fuzz of “Hexes + Drama” explodes into what could have been a vintage Nirvana riff while Bradoo attacks the vocals early Bloc Party-style, howling, “Well, hell, I’m a bit confused.” The band’s grunge roots are most noticeably visible on “Hexes + Drama” which, tied around an infectious drum groove, simply cries out for an electronic wash and distorted bass to take its fuzzed- out frenzy higher. But they get it perfectly right on “Fog + Strobe,” a nugget of dance-floor gold, all chiming guitars, deep basslines and a shout-out chorus that has its antecedents in bands like Friendly Fires and The Faint with a faint echo of Britpop. “Minus the Makeup” and “Running Into Walls Occasionally Helps” play with the same formula as “Hexes + Drama” ”“ buzzsaw guitars, grungy choruses and whimsical lyrics ”“ with varied results, but hit all the sweet spots with the sunset-drive vibe of “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.”

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While there are a few gawky moments on this otherwise fantastic debut, on the whole the band bears close watching and if songs like “Fog + Strobe” are any indication there’s a rich vein of potential just waiting to be tapped.

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