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EP Review: The F16’s ”“ Kaleidoscope

The Chennai electro-rockers deliver a moody, promising debut

Anurag Tagat Aug 27, 2013
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Chennai electro-rock band The F16's. Photo: Om Prakash

Chennai electro-rock band The F16’s. Photo: Om Prakash

[easyreview cat1title = Kaleidoscope cat1rating = 3.5]

f16s kaleidoscopeIt’s an unlikely crossing of indie across continents, but we’ve got a Chennai band that seems to love the Arctic Monkeys as much as it loves Vampire Weekend. That’s not to say the F16’s don’t hone their own sound on their debut EP, Kaleidoscope, because they have wrapped their sound around a strong psychedelic, electro influence courtesy keyboardist Harshan Radhakrishnan.

Originally due in March this year, The F16’s seem to have decided to gig more before they released Kaleidoscope. Seven songs [six, if you exclude the trippy intro “Prelude”] is a healthy number of tracks to put together especially for a band that’s been together just for a year. For The F16’s, it’s not about the spark that wills you to write 15 songs as soon as you start off, but about carefully crafting each song into catchy, fuzzy and admittedly hipsterific [for more band names you haven’t heard, check out their influences] music.

From the happy, jumpy indie-dance “My Shallow Lover” [on which vocalist Joshua Fernandez declares, “I’m more important/more important/much important than you.”] to the almost-perfect melancholic opener “Light Bulbs,” which includes really simple, yet impressive grooves by drummer Vikram Yesudas and standout basslines from Sashank Manohar.

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It feels like The F16’s start at the end, opening with a downer of a song that is “Light Bulbs” and ending on a heavy note with the riff-led “Nuke.” Everything else in between is more about fusing electro elements with any and all indie rock subgenres, like the samples from Martin Luther King’s most famous speech set to inspiring words on the blues punk “King’s Dream” and the less inspiring, brooding “Avalanche,” on which Fernandez sounds like Gotye.

Experiments such as “Avalanche” can go wrong, of course, but The F16’s needn’t worry, because it’s not like they caused an explosion or concocted anything spurious. They redeem themselves with “Who Robbed The Rogue,” which proves that every time they start from an electronica rhythm at the root of a track, their songs sound the most original.  

 

Key tracks: “Nuke,” “Light Bulbs,” “My Shallow Lover”

Stream Kaleidoscope EP in its entirety below. Buy the EP from OKListen.

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