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Albums Reviews

Sajid Akbar

Kid Without Candy
Enigmatic Army
[Three stars]

Rolling Stone IN Dec 10, 2008

This is a good record for non-film music in India. It may not jump at you, give you 160BPM conniptions or rock you out, and perhaps that’s why. Quite like Akbar himself, and his easy outlook to life, this is music to turn on, and just let be, for a change. The former guitarist of defunct Delhi-based grunge band Killer Tomatoes has infused this concise collection of tunes with an airy, come-hither intonation that floats above the various open tunings, alt-folk picking and mid-tempo Americana-inspired licks. And he is ably supported by tastefully lush production (the verse-end hum on ‘Mira’ and the lonesome electric guitar on ‘Home’ stand out) and crack rhythm section featuring guitarist Abhishek Mathur and keyboardist Anindo Bose (both from Advaita), young bassists Clarence Gonsalves (aka Oidua) and Abhishek Mangla and flautist Ajay Prasanna (who turns in some striking phrases on ‘Pray for Rain’). By turns faltering, honest, wry, loopy, playful and sentimental, Akbar also does a pleasantly Brit rock-ish vocal take on ‘Silent Movies.’ With a softly chugging start (‘The Sky is Falling’) and an end bopping like a Kings of Convenience singalong (‘Hold On’; the only shared credit, co-written with Suchi Mittal and Abeer Verma, and one of the highlights of the disc) the seven tracks on KWC are a fleeting glimpse of options countless bands in countless bars and college fests across the country don’t even consider. Lyrically he might seem a bit soft or personal to some, but our vote is that this an important voice to look forward to.

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