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Madboy/Mink Dig Into Retro on ‘Union Farm’

The Mumbai nu-disco duo’s second EP isn’t as punchy as their live shows, but carries their signature electro-swing sound

Anurag Tagat Jun 01, 2015
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(from left) Saba Azad and Imaad Shah at Ziro Festival of Music in Arunachal Pradesh last year. Photo: Pranab Doley

(from left) Saba Azad and Imaad Shah at Ziro Festival of Music in Arunachal Pradesh last year. Photo: Pranab Doley

[easyreview cat1title = “Union Farm” cat1rating = 3 cat1detail = “Self-released”]



‘Union Farm’ EP artwork

In case you haven’t noticed, some of the best new artists ruling the gig circuit right now are live electronic duos ”“ whether it’s Shaa’ir + Func, Delhi electro-rockers FuzzCulture [on their album launch tour] or Bengaluru duo Sulk Station [currently on a tour of the UK]. Add to that Mumbai duo Madboy/Mink ”“ comprising guitarist-producer Imaad Shah and vocalist Saba Azad ”“ and you know there’s something of a formula here.

But there’s nothing formulaic about their music. Madboy/Mink, who came together after solo stints in 2012, have been filling up clubs with their electro-swing music that combines the energy of today’s big-room electronic music with funk guitars, synth and Azad’s soulful vocal range. Following their 2014 EP All Ball, Madboy/Mink are exploring more than just electro-swing, but continue rooting for retro on their new four-track EP, Union Farm.

The title takes its name from the debauchery-reigning track “Powders,” which leads with a muddy guitar riff from Shah set to some classic Sixties psychedelic vocal harmonies. Prior to that, they kick off the EP with their live staple “Fire In the Street,” bringing in Dualist Inquiry-style electronic beats to some funkadelic guitars and a catchy chorus via Azad.

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They’ve chosen the most dance-friendly track to open Union Farm, but there’s another gem hidden in the Seventies Bollywood-inspired disco track “Sharaabi,” their first Hindi track. Although this track was composed before they turned “Taste Your Kiss” into “Calcutta Kiss” for the film Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! Azad delivers an ode to booze like she was from another era altogether. They close with “Mousegirl,” another cheery, bouncy indietronica affair.

That’s where Union Farm ends its nostalgia trip, one that throws in modern electronica elements. Madboy/Mink aren’t doing club-bangers, that’s for sure, but even then, their live energy, now complete with bassist Ruell Barretto and drummer Jehangir Jehangir, takes their music to another level that is yet to be matched in studio. Give this EP as many spins as you like, but you’ll catch something much more energetic at one of their live shows.

Key tracks: “Fire In The Street,” “Sharaabi.”

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