- Band / Artist Swarathma
- Genre Indian Folk/Fusion
- Label EMI/CounterCulture
- Year 2012
- Format Album
Funky, meaningful, sarcastic, thought provoking - "Topiwalleh" is like a breath of fresh air, and right from the first song, you know instantly you’re hooked on to an album of some mettle. The album was released last month in an overly packed BlueFrog at Mumbai, and the crowd got more than its money worth, grooving to a set of ten songs that were so complete and fulfilling.
For instance, behind the fresh funkisms of "Topiwalleh" is a thought provoking satire on politics. In "Kooraane", the common man is compared to "kooraane", an animal that is hunted as part of a ritual down South. In a way, the band covers a lot of ground in this song bringing traditional music and heavy riffs together amidst violins and tribal cries. "Rishton Ka Rasta" is pleasant and a traveling song in so many ways as it goes on about the journey of life and relationships with a beautiful violin solo in the beginning.
"Ghum" is hauntingly beautiful; it starts off in quiet subdued manner, and gradually opens up to a highly intense Rock number that only becomes more riveting with the addition of the violin and the tabla later. Thematically, the song is about child sexual abuse, and hence the psychedelic effects prevail throughout. The amount of effects used in this song is huge, everything is tried on, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had even gone the Jimmy Page way and used a bow on the guitar; such is the diversity in the sound. "Aaj Ki Taaza Fikar", as the name suggests takes a dig at the media and the growing influence on the common man. "Mukhote" speaks about the inherent hypocrisy in man, and the band backs it up with good music.
"Duur Kinara" features the spellbinding voice of Shubha Mudgal which provides an astounding beginning in Hindi, before Vasu takes it from there in crisp, melodious Kannada. Shubha Mudgal makes another appearance in between, and it is these transitions from Hindi to Kannada and back that are so beautifully handled that the song is an absolute treat to the ears. "Yeshu Allah Aur Krishna" is a perfect crowd song, and "Swarathma" showed it when they played it live. Amidst the funk in between, Vasu and Jishnu do the things that they are best at, and that is delve into lovable story telling with excellent last line punches. A song that featured in British Council’s Soundpad compilation (alongside Advaita, Indigo Children and Sky Rabbit), the band performs this song at almost every live venue, and it admits that the performance gets better with every gig.
Swarathma’s biggest success lies in discovering the link between its music and the crowd. It is the reason why if you like the album in your room, then you’ll absolutely love it played live. The album launch in Mumbai was less about a band introducing their new music to an audience, than a musical night where the crowd was made to feel as much part of the music as the people on stage. This adds the extra zing to the performance, when you have the lead singer Vasu Dixit and bassist Jishnu Dasgupta (both dressed in impeccable traditionals) engaged in a comic tussle of words in songs like "Yeshu Allah Aur Krishna".
From child abuse to politics to media and actors, the album is a colorful picture of the society that we live in. Rich in terms of music, lyrics and mixing, this could easily be one of the biggest Indian releases in recent times. Swarathma are truly and definitely one with the crowd now with Topiwalleh, and that’s only going to do good for their music.
Vishal Shah is a 20-year old from Mumbai, finishing his engineering at present. He likes to read a lot of non-fiction, music and sports magazines. An absolute digger of classic crime movies, he spends his time reading up on movies and music on the internet. Apart from this, he loves to travel, play the guitar and even sing occasionally. His interests in music cover a lot of the classic rock ‘n’ roll of the 60s, the hard rock of the 80s, thrash/power metal, grunge, alternative rock and he is currently deeply fond of the Post-Rock/Experimental music genre. Also, Amit Trivedi, Vishal Bharadwaj, Indian Ocean, and old Mohd. Rafi classics are some of his Indian favourites.
Strict Standards: Non-static method K2CustomHelper::getFacebookComments() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/content/14/11913214/html/imr/templates/indianmusicrevolution/html/com_k2/templates/album-reviews/item.php on line 494