Review: Sky Rabbit - Sky Rabbit
26 January 2012
Bombay based rock band Medusa have shed their old skin and triumphantly jumped onto the alternative/indie music scene completing their aural transmutation with their self-titled debut album and a new name, Sky Rabbit.
The 9 track album is beautifully woven together with each song distinctly different from the next, it is also magnificently produced with no gaps or “fillers” of any kind. The sampling is spare and intelligently done, which gives rise to a thoughtful and intense layering of sound that ties the songs together instead of complicating them; the seamless synthesis of electronica and post-punk is achieved with panache simply because of this.
Even on first listen, it is easy to identify the intricacies of texture and the internal ebb and flow of each song. The little things that make you smile to yourself and make you love a song are crawling all over this album. However, it is the sheer power of lead vocalist Raxit Tiwari’s voice that gives the album its inimitable swagger. He is singing of many things, from existential meanderings (I Become I) to outrageous stumblings of the absurd (Anti-Coke Ganpati), all the way to lonely musings on love and inextricably, heartbreak (March).
The album opens with the brilliant Anti-Coke Ganpati, which is first and foremost, a great name for a song. It is also a fantastic opener that presents a zenith of force grabbing the listener by the collar with a beautiful harmonising of absurdity (breakdown/fashion/Sensex/low-fat/is stumbling from pizza toppings) that makes you love the album and the band even more.
“Swimmer” is almost surely my personal favourite. It begins with a lovely undulating rhythm that flows past you till that voice emerges from the depths to add the warm glow of sunlight to the rush of the flowing river. It steps away from the meticulous production of the other tracks, it breaks out of the mould, if only momentarily, to induce uncertain heart-thumping emotion that lies somewhere ambiguously between deep despair and mad delight, as the lyrics form a rising refrain (today/today/today is all like yesterday/ dreams yesterday/dreams are of yesterday/so dream yesterday/still won’t make you call/oh yesterday/can’t be far...). Somewhere between the dreams and the yesterdays, there erupts a discordant sample that cries out almost as a sentient being and out of a volition of its own it strangles a dying roar that reaches past the thick foliage of sound and trembles right through the extraneous to settle into a sweet, dull throb of plenary feeling.
“I Become I” begins with a simple but energetic riff that waxes until it sidles into the background whilst the vocals kick in bellowing “West will be east/East will be west…”. The song is another great example of how the proper and intelligent use of electronica can complement and accentuate the individual instrumentation. The song stands out if not for its catchy tune then for the lyrical turn exhibited, edging into the existential, the line “Right on around/down in the shallow/each one finds his grave/one at a time” comes seemingly out of nowhere and still manages to please which shows the high skill of the songwriter.
“March” and “Sweet Smile Driving” are prime examples of how lightly worn the dense and intricate layering can be. You can almost miss the careful structuring that is subtly devoured by the melancholic lyrics and heavy weariness of the vocals. If you strain your ears just enough though, there is an expansive subterrane of sound in which you cannot help but get gloriously lost in.
Sky Rabbit have created an absolute gem of an album with a sound as distinct as any in the Indian music scene. The album captures the listener from the very first track and draws them back in its magnetic field long after the last song.
Words: Abhinava Bhattacharyya