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Second Sight Build a Musical Reef on Debut Album ‘Coral’

The Mumbai duo’s first LP has tracks that excite, deliver somber moments and pull at heartstrings

David Britto Nov 24, 2021

Mumbai duo Second Sight. Photo: Ankit Gupta

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When Mumbai singer-songwriter duo Second Sight—consisting of musicians Anusha Ramasubramoney and Pushkar Srivatsal—released their debut four-track EP The Violet Hour in 2018, their idea was to score some gigs. “That’s the only reason, so we have something to show,” says Srivatsal. The plan worked and gigs came aplenty for the duo as well as for their full band sets. Now, the musicians have released a follow-up, their 10-track full-length debut album Coral.

Second Sight began work on Coral in 2019, and although the pandemic did slow things down, they powered through to complete the record. “We said, ‘Let’s try doing everything ourselves and if it works, it works,’” says Srivatsal. The duo tells us that some songs on the record date back to five years ago and have gone through their own evolution. Ramasubramoney says, “The songs have grown quite a bit.”

When it comes to songwriting, Ramasubramoney and Srivatsal usually write together. The pair explain that this is one of the reasons they take a while to finish a song. Srivatsal says in jest, “We’re not like those bands where we have 40 songs to choose from and pick the best 10, we have only 10 [laughs].” Ramasubramoney adds, “And we polish them till they have to be put out.”

With Coral, Second Sight has used the record to talk about larger issues such as addressing homophobia (“One”) and comment wars on the internet (“Dim Lights”), as well as portray emotion with a love ballad (“Make Me Better”). “We wanted to write more about the outside world and Coral is all about that process,” says Ramasubramoney.

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Coral opens with the hauntingly beautiful Acapella offering “When the Moon Was Ours” before we hear the pair’s previously released single, the terrific “Dim Lights.” Next, Second Sight calls upon vocalist Ranjani Ramadoss aka RANJ for tasty rhymes on “Helpless,” followed by another one of their singles, the precarious “Fragile.” There’s dynamic goodness on “Poison” before the pair rope in Mumbai-based artist Princeton for a slick old-school rap section on “One.” You’ll experience bossa nova delight on “La Hermosa Tristeza” and horns galore on “Make Me Better.” Second Sight closes out the LP with a couple of bonus tracks that include an acoustic version of “Dim Lights” and a live version of their euphoric song “Little Plastic Raincoat.”

What makes Coral such a fantastic listen is the attention to detail that Second Sight has put into it. Each note, snare hit, bassline and vocal arrangement is carefully crafted to create an immersive sonic experience. Ramasubramoney and Srivatsal’s give and take singing elevates each song as they harmonize beautifully over slick and dynamic instrumentation. There’s plenty to enjoy on Coral, from jazz and R&B to soul and blues as well as hip-hop, making it a comprehensive and indulgent body of work.

Apart from Ramasubramoney and Srivatsal handling vocals, and in Srivatsal’s case also guitar, additional synths and samples, the core band on the record includes bassist Ralph Menezes, drummer Jigar Shah and keyboardist Jayakrishnan Unnithan. Also, away from RANJ and Princeton, the album also has a host of guest artists spread across the LP and features additional vocals by singers Meera Desai, Chantelle Menezes and Dean Sequeira, pianists Pedro Carneiro Silva and Vatan Dhuriya, trumpeter James Cronin, clarinet player Paul Cutliffe and drummer Shivang Kapadia. Percussionists Vaibhav Wavikar and Karan Chitra Deshmukh are also heard on the record as are horn outfit Bombay Brass, guitarist Warren Mendonsa aka Blackstratblues, cellist Akito Goto as well as a contribution from horn arranger Luca Petracca.

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Second Sight recorded the album at Mumbai’s J Door Studios, S2M Studio and Island City Studios and self-produced it except for “One” where they enlisted producer Zain Calcuttawala. Srivatsal shared mixing duties with Calcuttawala, Thomas Juth and Dishaan Gidwani. Juth also mastered the record.

Clearly, a lot of good things have happened to the album courtesy of the super successful crowdfunding campaign Second Sight ran for it—they received a staggering ₹3,00,000, smashing the initial target of ₹2,50,000 in two days. “A lot of musician friends… nobody’s making any money. So, it’s completely understandable that they won’t be able to contribute, but still, some of these people have contributed,” says Srivatsal.

When it comes to promoting the record, Second Sight is planning to release music videos and lyric videos while also plotting a live-streamed album launch gig next month. The pair are also keen on working on a remix EP for early next year, while also squeezing in a tour to take the album on the road in 2022. Looking ahead, Second Sight already has material written for a follow-up album. “Let’s see how it turns out because making an album again is going to be really taxing, so maybe we’ll have to wait for a while,” says Srivatsal. Ramasubramoney adds, “It will also be way better planned [laughs].”

Stream ‘Coral’ on Spotify below and on other platforms.

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