Sunday, October 08, 2006

Insomnia - PROLOY'er SOMOY'e... and what do I think about their album?

I don’t enjoy listening to bangla rock as a rule.

Maybe its becoz I aint a Bengali. Maybe its becoz I like listening to rock in its purest form – A.K.A., when it’s sung in English.

Having said that, I have heard most of the popular Bengali bands around. Some of them sing the odd song that I enjoy listening to, but on the whole – well, I really can’t stand them. Barring LOKKHICHHARA and the old original KROSSWINDZ line up that is.

So when INSOMNIA came out with their album I wasn’t peeing my pants wet with excitement. Their 1st album was in English and I was really hoping that this one would have been composed in English as well.
But yes, I was extremely happy for them though, becoz I know a few of the band members and I wanted to lend them my support by buying their album – its Rs. 99/- bucks after all. Very cheap (cheaper than the stuff I drink @ SOMEPLACE ELSE generally!!!)
They could have sung their album in Bhojpuri for all I care, and I would have still bought the album!

Souvik had sent me a sample of Adharm’er Shaar some months back, yes it wasn't like I had nothing to look forward too - the song was very alternative and nu-metalish, almost a RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE clone. Which was a surprise becoz having seen INSOMNIA and CRYSTAL GRASS (the INSOMNIA off-shoot @ SPE) perform live here and there, I kinda had the impression that their influences were mainly PINK FLOYD and classic and prog rock, with sprinklings of modern rock here and there.

So to the album PROLOY’er SOMOY’e

Question: Did I like it?
Answer: You bet I did! Liked it would be an under-statement – I loved it!

From whatever little comments I’ve read about this album from the fans online, INSOMNIA’s new baby is supposed to revolutionized the modern Bengali rock music sound... well, I don’t know about that, since as I mentioned before, I ain’t no expert in this genre.

But personally any album that has managed to stay put in my CD player over a week is a good album by my standards. And that has been the case with PROLOY’er SOMOY’e! For the 1st time in my existence on this planet i have not only listened to a bengali rock album not ionce, not twice - but non-stop for the past 1 week. And I still see no signs of getting tired of it.

The songs. Okay. Well for fans of nu-metal, modern rock and alternative music, this album has something for you. All of the songs on this album have elements of these genres. And it’s worthwhile to note that these songs provide a variety which kind of keeps the pace of the album very even. None of the songs sound the same - so for the fickle-minded music listener, I doubt that you’ll get bogged down after listening to a few songs.

The songs can easily be divided into 2 categories – the heavy and the not-so-heavy.
The Heavy: Proloy’er Somoy’e, Aartonaad, Poth'e Ghaat'e Nekreh Kaateh, Odhorm’er Shaar.
The Not-So-Heavy: Shunyo, Nishhaash, Haat Dhoreh, Akaash Chowaa, Opekhha.

The Heavy – The funny thing is that I could actually pin-point specifically the influences for most of the songs. For instance:

Proloy’er Somoy’e: The opening bars were so P.O.D. – in fact the guitar intro had Youth Of The Nation written all over it. A really good song, becoz once the initial P.O.D. phase gets over the band ups the ante and takes the song into overdrive. An excellent track to kick off the album with. And my 2nd best favourite amongst the 9.

Aartonaad: In this case it was AUDIOSLAVE’s “Cochise” and a bit of RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, which is not suprising since AUDIOSLAVE after all is an off-shoot of RATM. A good heavy feel to this song as well. The AUDIOSLAVE sound kind of persisted a bit too long for my liking but once again the heaviness of the song made for really good listening. The layers on this song – very structured indeed I must say. And it was an absolute delight to hear BODHI’s guitar-playing here.

Odhorm’er Shaar: Okay, it took me some time to identify the main influence for this song, but I am positive it is RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE’s Born Of A Broken Man. Actually this song had the most nu-metal influences amongst all the heavy tracks. It was almost like I was listening to RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE in Bengali (without the rapping part though).
And not suprising since INSOMNIA after all do mention in their album that it is a tribute to RATM.
The last song of the album and an awesome way to close it. Very raw and heavy feel. Nice guitar solo in the middle of the song as well.

Poth’e Ghat’e Nekreh Kaateh: I’m stumped – can’t actually say what specifically influenced this song. But whatever, another very loud bone-crunching ditty – and that’s all I really care about here. Supposedly about call centers. Ah well, one listen to this is sure to induce insomnia amongst all those call center employees who have to stay up the entire night working. Rocking song.
But if I may say so – it was probably the most mainstream amongst the 4 heavy songs in this album. Which is my way of saying that it is a good song but the other 3 (mentioned above) had that extra element of heaviness which made them so much more interesting. But regardless, a good song nevertheless.

I have to mention that NINNAI did a very good job with the vocals. He definitely has the vocal range to carry off a heavy song, and it was a pleasure to hear him growling and screeching as would do any good metal singer. If INSOMNIA do wish to compose an entirely heavy album in the future, then they have a vocalist to deliver them the goods for sure.

The Not-So-Heavy – Well the rest of the songs weren’t bone-crunching heavy, and as I mentioned previously, the remaining 5 tunes were a mix of modern rock, power ballads and a bit of British alternative. A mixed bag if you will.
The 1st time I heard the album I was surprised that there were any slow songs at all, becoz I initially was under the impression that the entire album would be of the ear-shattering variety. But after a few listens, no complaints. I actually like the feel of the album better this way.

Shunyo: I could be mistaken, but I did feel a bit of the COLDPLAY influence here. And a bit of BETTER THAN EZRA (an American alternative group – if you’ve heard their song Closer then you’ll know what I’m talking about!) The song’s opening was very cool. I liked it. Nothing very flashy or anything but it had a nice earthy feel to it. A nice ballad – should go down very well with the romantically inclined. On the whole, a very neat and uncomplicated song.

Nishhaash: Oh man, off the top of my head – COLLECTIVE SOUL? The intro was classic COLLECTIVE SOUL. Again, another nice ballsy ballad type of song, but as do most of the songs on this album, a very different feel altogether.

Haat Dhoreh: I never really thought SOUVIK’s vocals would do a good job with the slow songs. Both here and in Shunyo, the feeling he provides to these song over-all were just amazing to listen to. Again, as I mentioned above – another slow song, and the music and vocals blend together beautifully to lend it this very emotional feel – the ladies should love this song for sure.

Akaash Chowaa: AUDIOSLAVE again? Maybe I’m wrong – but the intro did sound so. Very touching song – the entire mood had this depressing feel about it which was really cool. In fact at times I thought I could hear a bit of NIRVANA’s Lithium swimming through my head. I mean, not the tune, the feel of the song... There, I said it – this song is the parallel of Lithium in this style of music. What? You don’t agree? Well listen to it a few more times and tell me what you feel then.

Opekhha: I wonder. I never expected this song to be my favourite amongst all the songs on this album. Under normal circumstances it should have been one of the 4 heavy songs. But no, Opekhha wins the crown after hours of continuous listening. COLDPLAY influence? You bet my ass yes. The closing section of the song has similarities to Yellow.
The song overall? Awesome. Absolutely brilliant. You could actually feel DODO’s angst while the song flowed. The angst and passion and frustration. All rolled into one and out it came like a river. The only song in the album where I personally feel that the vocals actually overshadowed the other instruments – and that is saying a lot, becoz in the remaining 8 songs the symbiotic nature between vocals and instrumentation took the album through a nice smooth road.
So my hats off to DODO here – the vocals bowled me over.

Whew! That was long.
So at the end of it all I have to say that Proloy’er Somoy’e is an above average album without a doubt. A new sound you said? Well however new it might be to the general bangla rock loving masses, to me it was very mainstream and accessible. If INSOMNIA succeed in popularizing this new sound then that makes it worth waiting (for your’s truly) for their next album.

But here is where I ask my 1st question to the band: With the myriad influences that are so evident on this album, what direction does INSMONIA take in the future? Although it was fun listening to a mix-and-match of heavy and not-so-heavy songs, it would be nice to see the band sticking to one specific genre and a few influences. Sounding like RATM in one song and then like COLDPLAY in the next may not be a very wise thing to do for future projects, esepcially when you want to establish your band as a front-runner in a particular genre of rock. Of course so much of this will be determined by album sales and fan reactions. SO I guess its too early to maybe decide about that.

Anyway, instead of rambling away I’ll just say that the band members have done themselves proud – the sound overall was extremely pleasing – the drums, keyboards, guitars, vocals all round were very tight and slick. Even the album production quality was a notch above what I’ve generally seen around for Indian bands. Seriously – I have the HELGA's FUN CASTLE album with me… but Proloy’er Somoy’e was way above the former's album production standard.

Ratings: 8 (out of 10)


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smoKINGuns said...

hi prasanna...
was going through sites featuring Insomnia...the band...found your blog...
after listening to their album n in relation to their song 'opekkha'...i found it very very similar to Sigur Ros track 'Glósóli' from their album 'Takk'...n i think Insomnia has even surpassed the original...