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Zoo ”“ Atoms & Combinations Album Review

The Kolkata experimental electro rock band can’t be pinned down on their debut album

Anurag Tagat Jul 14, 2014
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Zoo - Rohit Nanda, Tanya Sen, Bijit Bhattacharya, Bodhisattwa Ghosh. Photo: courtesy of Zoo

Zoo – Rohit Nanda, Tanya Sen, Bijit Bhattacharya, Bodhisattwa Ghosh. Photo: courtesy of Zoo

[easyreview cat1title = “Atoms & Combinations” cat1rating = 3.5 cat1detail = “Metal Postcard”]

Zoo CD FRONT_1600X1600_300dpi

‘Atoms and Combinations’ artwork

Whether it’s the punk act Jeepers Creepers or veteran rockers Cassini’s Division, Kolkata has some impressive, yet underrated, groups finding an audience across the country. Kolkata electro rock act Zoo are one such act, who formed in 2011, and even played gigs in South East Asia. While Zoo followed industrial and trip hop leads on their EP The Attic Sessions in 2012, their sound on the debut album Atoms & Combinations is difficult to pinhole. There’s everything from reggae and drum and bass to prog rock and straight up catchy rock.

The album begins with a seven-minute prog rock-inspired “Burn,” where vocalist Tanya Sen sets the tone for a dark, twisted trip. After playing the entire album, in hindsight, “Burn” just might be a risky start for an album as varied as Atoms & Combinations. They could’ve better impressed by putting their second track “Ride On” as their opener, which is catchy and short and almost throws you off when you hear rap verses in Spanish and German from Berlin’s  dancehall duo, Raggabund. The rest of the seven-track album is certainly electronica-influenced. Guitarist and synth-player Bodhisattwa Ghosh is certainly helming the band’s major sound, layering synth parts [“In Time”], ripping out guitar solos and adding electro beats [“Wonderland”].

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The band invites Subhodip Bannerjee [from acoustic duo Ifs and Buts] to play acoustic guitar on “Blinding Lights,” matching Sen’s serenading vocals over a drum and bass beat.

There’s certainly a lot of variety on Atoms & Combinations, but at times, the prominent mood of melancholy is almost too similar, even if presented in different styles. It makes us think that songs like “Centrifuge,” easily the trippiest on the album, sounds better off as a standalone single rather than when heard along with six other tracks. For each track, Zoo are good at showing off their diversity, but the band needs to work on a more cohesive sound.

Key tracks: “Ride On,” “Blinding Lights,” “Centrifuge.”

 

Stream and buy Atoms and Combinations here:

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