[Three and a half stars]
What Delhi-based Faridkot does with its debut albumÂ Ek, is give the Hindi indie music scene hope. The likes of Kailasa, Rabbi, Raghu Dixit, Mohit Chauhan (with Silk Route) and more recently Ankur Tewari gave non-Bollywood indie music credible character with their intelligent and contemporaneous fix of folksy-rock. But Indian bands rarely seem to harness the sensibility of rock in the Indian context, an art that’s been mastered by Pakistani rock bands. Faridkot manages to sell that sentiment with compelling conviction onÂ Ek.Â Identifying with attitudes ofÂ Pakistani outfits like Strings, Fuzon, EP Irtiqa and Junoon, in some way Faridkot sets a precedent for Hindi pop-rock.
IP Singh’s vocals are the lynchpin of this record. Singh has one of those voices that mark an indelible impression, like a Kailash Kher and Mohit Chauhan it’s a voice that will go places. It’s also very much Singh’s versatility ”“ packing a brash punch on the refrain of ”˜Meherbaan’ to frolicsome inflections and scaling raga phrases on ”˜Laila’ ”“ that invigorates the album. Singh’s staunch vocals collide with Rajarshi Sanyal’s guitar frenzy to create a sensational collaboration. Both seem to possess a keen adaptive sense working their groove to sappy pop and racy rock alike. But Sanyal must take credit for inducing the grittier element on sound; he seems to guide tracks like ”˜Jashn’ and with his aggressive guitar romp. On ”˜Banjare,’ Singh’s voice echoes beautifully against Sanyal’s clear, ringing 12-stringed acoustic. Gavin Pacheco’s basslines set the pace on songs like ”˜Madho,’ which evokes a very festive and colourful sound scape. While ”˜Meherbaan’ subtly recalls Irtiqa and ”˜Haal-E-Dil,’ Strings, the kernel of these tracks unequivocally lies with Faridkot. WhileÂ Ek packs in sentimentality, passion, aggression, sparkle pop, folksy acoustics and alt-rock what nicely ties it all in is a whole lot of soul.
Key Tracks: ”˜Madho’, ”˜Banjare’