Imphal Indie Band Meewakching Shine in Full-Length Album
‘Thengmankhre Hee Ado Lakpa, Eikhoidi Sikhiba Kuire Erolnungda’ journeys through moods of hope, fear, loss and impermanence, with slick indie rock songwriting
Following their glowing, moody indie/post-punk debut EP Ekhenglakta in August last year and their sophomore EP earlier this year, Imphal band Meewakching carry forward the sound in their debut full-length record that was released in October.
The long-winding title, as it turns out, is wholly intentional. Thengmankhre Hee Ado Lakpa, Eikhoidi Sikhiba Kuire Erolnungda translates to “It Was Too Late For The Boat To Arrive, We Were Dead Long Ago Underneath The Lake,” according to vocalist-guitarist Silheiba Ningombam. He adds, “We wanted to give the album a long title. A sentence. That’s how it came. We don’t have our own interpretation of it and we want people to relate to it in their own ways.”
Featuring lyrics in Manipuri, a lot of the 10-track album still conveys feelings over and above language. “Phungreitang” is a stargazing song in which the vocals cover angst as well as catharsis. Along with “Ekhenglakta”, these buoyant tracks were also part of the EP. Ningombam explains that the versions on the EP differed from the live version, which prompted the inclusion.
Keyboardist and backing vocalist Sanahal Phairenjam leads on “Yeningtha, Kalen, Nakentha, Ningtham… Aduga Yeningtha,” a quieter, subtly emotive song that borders on piano ballad territory. “The lyrical content of the album encompasses various themes of hope and fear, corrupted people, fascist institutions, love and loss, and impermanence,” Ningombam says.
Watch the video for “How I Wish To Be Back to You” below.
The only English song on the record —also the first for Meewakching—is the reminiscing tune “How I Wish To Be Back to You,” populated by sprightly guitar lines from Ningombam and Dingku Sorokhaibam, supported by the able-bodied rhythm section of drummer Ronald Sorokhaibam and bassist Swami Laimayum. One of the earliest songs written for the album, Ningombam notes the sonic treatment also differs from the rest of the album. He adds, “We planned for an entire EP in English but we changed our mind. We later wanted to experiment more in Manipuri lyrics with the sound we wanted to create—reverb and chorus-laden guitars, motorik drum beats, different time signatures, and heavy synths. But we are positive that we’ll include more songs in English in the upcoming releases.”
While “How I Wish To Be Back to You” also got a verdant music video, Meewakching believes they can reach out to more people, even those who don’t understand Manipuri. Recently, “Ekhenglakta” even found its way to the airwaves for a Brooklyn-based internet radio station. “We have plans to perform outside the state once the situation regarding the pandemic gets healthier, and when more gigs and festivals resume,” Ningombam adds.
With a few shows in Kohima and Imphal done with, Meewakching promises more music videos and performances in the coming months.
Listen to ‘Thengmankhre…’ below. Stream/buy here.