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The Lightyears Explode Turn Back Time with Bouncy New Single ‘Nostalgia 99’

The track follows the Mumbai band’s 2020 EP ‘Mellow’

David Britto Apr 22, 2021

Mumbai outfit The Lightyears Explode. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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While Mumbai outfit The Lightyears Explode’s full-length debut album The Revenge of Kalicharan completed eight years since its release this past weekend, it’s only been six months since their most recent offering — the four-track EP Mellow — was put out. With a change in sound from their garage rock roots to more pop-punk, the band tells us they were “quite nervous” before Mellow came out. Frontman Saurabh Roy says, “It was different from the record it came after and the time between the two and we’re so pleased with how people reacted to it and were open to us trying new things.”

Even though the band regrets not being able to play their latest record live due to the pandemic, they’ve spent much of their time focussing on writing and recording new songs. Their first release this year is the bubbly new single “Nostalgia 99.”

According to the group, the first version of the new song was written last year in March just when the first lockdown was imposed. Back then, the band put a short snippet of them performing the song on their Instagram page. Roy says, “We put the video up because we felt we’re too precious with our demos and the early stages of our process and we made a conscious decision to put more of our unfinished ideas out there from time to time.” He adds, “Over the year we fleshed it out, fine-tuned the production and the lyrics.”

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“Nostalgia 99” includes a disco meets pop meets retro sound while The Lightyears also throw in their punk and rock elements too. Keeping that in mind, Roy was keen on writing lyrics that complemented the instrumentation. He says, “I tend to go back to it (nostalgia) a lot.” The vocalist-guitarist adds, “How the bad times affected my emotional growth and how intoxicating the good times can be and how the combination of the two when left unchecked can affect your present relationships.”

The track opens with synths and frantic soundscapes while pumping drums, tight bass grooves, guitar embellishments run through. Roy’s spiraling vocal delivery and catchy melodies make you want to sing along with him as you listen to the song. The band recorded “Nostalgia 99” at Roy’s home studio and self-produced it. It was then mixed by Ganesh Singaram and mastered by Richard Lake.

Keeping with the theme of nostalgia, the artwork includes pictures of Roy and bassist Shalom Benjamin as kids. Scoring a lot of points for the cutesy visual, the vocalist-guitarist says, “Harmeet Rahal, who did the art for Mellow as well, came up with the idea. The whole process of picking out and showing each other our old photos was also a great bonding experience for us.”

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As the second wave of the pandemic is upon us currently, The Lightyears tell us it’s been tough for them both emotionally and financially like so many others in the country. However, Roy says, “But we acknowledge privilege and luck as well, seeing how much pain so many people are going through.” With around five songs already recorded, the band plans on releasing more singles throughout the year while simultaneously plotting their sophomore full-length album.

Stream “Nostalgia 99” on Spotify below and on other platforms.

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