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The Lightyears Explode Release Refreshing New Single ‘Satire,’ Talk Sonic Shift and More

The track is off the Mumbai band’s forthcoming EP ‘Mellow’

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David Britto Sep 04, 2020

Mumbai outfit The Lightyears Explode. Photo: Omar Iyer

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In 2017, Mumbai outfit The Lightyears Explode were faced with a particular instance of tragicomedy. At the time, the band – comprising vocalist-guitarist Saurabh Roy, bassist Shalom Benjamin and drummer Jeremy D’souza – recorded seven songs on Roy’s decade-old computer. To their bad luck, the system gave way and to add to the trouble, the hard drive where they stored their backup files too crashed. “Thankfully I did have backups for all the ‘raw’ recordings,” says Roy.

One of the songs to come out of that process was their 2018 single “Drunk Loser” featuring vocalist Fame Sangma from Meghalaya-bred alternative pop-rock group Fame The Band. With “Drunk Loser” the band teased a sonic shift from what we heard on their highly acclaimed 2013 garage rock debut album The Revenge of Kalicharan. Fast forward two years later and The Lightyears Explode sounds like a brand-new band with fresh electro-pop elements, catchy vocal melodies and songs that will make you want to dance rather than mosh. The group is kicking off this new era with the jumpy new single “Satire,” from their forthcoming four-track EP Mellow.

To know more about how this evolution in their sound came about, Roy reminds us about the lost files. He says, “The thought of re-doing all of those songs again, exactly how we did the first time, seemed like a tiresome proposition. So, we started working on each song individually, not thinking about any greater plans.” The band used elements of the previous recordings while also moving parts around to create entirely new versions of old songs. “It was extremely fun and refreshing,” says Roy.

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Hold the front door though, the band hasn’t gone all AWOL. “Satire” still retains the group’s crunchy guitar riffs, power-packed drumming, Benjamin’s distinctive bass parts as well as Roy’s signature vocal hooks. Add in the indulgent production, synths and dreamy soundscapes and it makes for a fun and invigorating listen.

Apart from “Satire,” Mellow also includes the saccharine pop feel-good title track, the heavy electro offering “Heartbreak Kid” and one of the group’s older songs from their The Revenge of Kalicharan era, the stomping “Anthemic.” On the tracks, Roy says, “I’d say they’re broadly about reminiscing about the past and drowning in escapism, while periodically having to snap out of it and challenge some of those ideas without rose-tinted glasses.”

Instead of dropping the EP at one go, The Lightyears Explode will be releasing the record in a piecemeal fashion, with one song every five weeks. “These are basically just four singles we wrote without thinking about it too much and just enjoying ourselves,” says Roy. The frontman also explains that each song has a “pop structure” which they felt suited to be put out as singles. He adds, “But we wanted to compile them all in one place as a snapshot of where we are right now.”

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Mellow was recorded over at Mumbai alt rockers Blek’s vocalist-guitarist Rishi Bradoo’s Theatre 74, the city-based That Studio and the band’s own home studios under the watchful eye of producer Achint, who contributed keys to the EP. Roy says, “He [Achint] also set standards for things.” The record was mixed by Australia-based sound engineer Ganesh Singaram and mastered by Richard Lake.

The Lightyears Explode have collaborated with graphic designer Harmeet Rahal [who designed the artwork] to give the songs a visual identity and are also working on a music video for one of the tracks. With Mellow, the band has given listeners a pleasant and exhilarating treat. Ask them what they have in store down the road and Roy says, “We know what our next dozen songs will sound like, and I think, there won’t be any big surprises, but a steady evolution of the sound we explored here and more confidence in our new pop shaped shoes.”

Stream “Satire” on Spotify below and on other platforms.

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