Hear Short Round’s Melodically Diverse Third Record ‘Favourite Strangers’
The Mumbai singer-songwriter’s nine-track offering runs from melancholic songs to loud rock ragers
The last time we spoke to Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Jishnu Guha aka Short Round, his collaborative sophomore record With Friends Like These (2017) was out. He mentioned then that he intended to work on his next record with musician Rahul Pais (formerly of Guha’s rock band The SOS). “I had made progress on an EP with Rahul Pais but scheduling didn’t allow for that to come to fruition in a timely manner,” says Guha.
Not one to sit back, Guha reached out to Mumbai producer Arnob Bal last year and began work on his next record. The new nine-track album titled, Favourite Strangers, released earlier this month is a sonic delight with some of Indian indie’s top musicians featured across the record. Guha humbly says, “Despite being the frontman for this outfit I’ve always felt the least qualified.” He adds, “I’m blessed to have some of the best singers in the country playing on these songs.”
Favourite Strangers features the likes of Mumbai pop-rock band The Colour Compound’s drummer Aditya Ashok, bassist Adil Kurwa and guitarist Bradley Tellis, alt-rock band Spud in the Box’s keyboardist Rohan Rajadhyaksha, singer-songwriters Maalavika Manoj aka Mali and Aria Nanji. Guha joins on vocals and guitar. “Everyone in the band is veteran enough to have created their own unique sonic stamp,” he says.
The opening song on the new record “Mothers” is a perfect example of how Guha has played to the strengths of his collaborators showcasing clever harmonies, dynamics and melodies. “I’d be a fool to not abuse that privilege,” he says. The catchy “Down to the Next One” features a memorable guitar hook and chorus while giving the instrumentation space to breathe. The singer-songwriter says, “I enjoy trying to subvert those expectations every now and again in hopes of keeping things new and exciting.”
The somber yet at times heavy-hitting “Ms. Industry of Cool” has everything from a relaxed keyboard intro, crushing dynamics and a soaring guitar solo. Guha explains about the track, “It’s been around for nearly a decade but never had an arrangement that I was happy with.” The title is a direct quote from “one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite films Almost Famous.” He adds, “I have seen many friends in the entertainment industry struggle with the occupational hazard of having their egos stroked day-in and day-out which really rocks the boat with regards to one’s definition of self-worth.”
On the penultimate folksy track “Providence,” we hear Mali’s blissful vocals accompanied by delicate acoustic guitar plucking. The razor-sharp album closer “Time,” comes across as quite an emotional song penned by Guha and features sublime guitar work by Tellis.
Currently, Guha has a comical video out for the charming “Up & Down” and tells us that he doesn’t have a concrete plan to tour the album until later this year. As we’ve already learned that the singer-songwriter is a sucker for the recording studio. To no one’s surprise, he says, “We’re getting into the writing room for the follow-up in early July. Rinse and repeat.”
Stream ‘Favourite Strangers’ below: