Album Review: ‘The Random Dream Project’
The acts on the recently-released, free-to-download compilation The Random Dream Project share more than just the same record label and management company: each of them, even the duos and groups, writes their own lyrics. But it’s not what they’re singing about—primarily the state of their individual lives or that of their relationships —but the way they sing it that separates the interesting from the imitative in the collection’s motley mix of musicians. Sometimes, a crisp, distinct voice can elevate an otherwise fairly standard composition, as Siddharth Basur (of Goddess Gagged) does on album opener “Real” (“What can I say you haven’t already seen?” he sings, almost confessedly). At other times, a band’s influences weigh too heavily on their sound, like in the case of Hindi pop-rock band Rang. Their first track on the album “Ek Chehra” is refreshingly soft and easy-flowing but their second, “Jaan”, which aspires to become a Mumbai anthem by referencing local trains and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, sticks so close to the template established by similar city themes that they end up sounding like Delhi’s Euphoria, a group they often cover at their gigs.
Similarly, Nayantara Bhatkal and Savera Mehta, who also contribute a tune as the duo Harbor Light, do their strong voices a disservice by sounding a tad too affected on their respective tracks, “In The Sun” and “Outshine”. On Harbor Light’s “The Duet” you can imagine the pair envisioning themselves as the Indian equivalent of The Swell Season, the Oscar winning folk rock duo of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Ayush Shrestha, fortunately, seems to have developed a voice that’s entirely his own. On the jaunty “Status Updated”, which essays his apprehensions about dating in the digital era, Shrestha sings, “Chai-wai, coffee-woffee, lassi on the rocks, I tried and tried but at the end of the day, I feel that the world sucks,” expressing a sentiment that’s simultaneously unique and universal. All the artists on this compilation are scheduled to release their debut albums through the label, and the set we are looking most forward to is the one by six-piece Spud In The Box. Not since Zero has a Mumbai-based pop-rock band so deftly masked such cheeky messages in such happy melodies. Compilation closer “54” is a finger-snapping jangle jam sung from the point of view of a serial killer, while the contemplative musings of “Simple As It Seems” belie the young age of the band, which doesn’t have a single member over 20.
Download the album here. The Random Dream Project is holding an Open Mic Night on Thursday, June 21, from 9pm, at H2O (Hotel Royal Inn, opposite Khar Telephone Exchange, off Linking Road, Khar. Tel: 2648 1400). The winning act gets to record and release a single with the label. To register for a spot, email firstname.lastname@example.org.Tags: Ayush Shrestha, Harbor Light, Music, Nayantara Bhatkal, Rang, Savera Mehta, Siddharth Basur, Spud In The Box, The Random Dream Project