Listen: The F16s Release Debut Album ‘Triggerpunkte’
16 August 2016
Since they began making music back in 2011, Chennai 5 piece alt-rock band F16s have established themselves one of the more consistently prolific outfits in the country. Whether they’re releasing the odd EP, playing at festivals and venues across the country, winning competitions or recording their music in some of the best studios in the world - they’ve earned a rightful space in the indie circuits’ public eye without sacrificing quality for gimmickry or cheap marketing.
It’s probably why their debut full length ‘Triggerpunkte’ has been so eagerly anticipated. The hype has a lot to do with the fact that the F16s have become a band we can count on – messiah’s of quality, consistency and professionalism who always deliver in an apathetic and entitled scene where a lot of us sometimes settle for mediocrity.
It’s barely been a week since its release but praise for the album has been flying in from fans and fellow musicians. Shockingly, the F16s’ listeners have even been paying for an album they can just download for free…which could serve as a testament to ‘Triggerpunkte’s worth and/or mark the dawn of a new age where India’s urban youth might actually be willing to cough up some cash for the art they consume – either way, pats on the back for everyone.
An intensely likable album that balances accessibility with intricate, interesting composition and structure, ‘Triggerpunkte’s sound leans towards that late 90s - early 2000s camp of The Strokes/Interpol/Arctic Monkey’s inspired alternative rock that so many of us grew up, fell in love with, and in some cases - grew out of. Nostalgia has been a key feature of India’s musical development (shout out to all those cover/tribute bands that are still being booked and getting gigs). Banking on that bias has become an unfortunate go-to for a lot of bands, who then stick to the safety in emulating and romanticising bygone ‘rockstar’ eras.
‘Triggerpunkte’ however, manages to tap into nostalgia without leaning on it i.e. it’s adapted to the times and evolved to suit our current environment and tastes. The album flows like molten gold from start to finish with its vibrant production, immaculate instrumentation and completely absorbing vocal delivery. For a band that relies so much on vocals, it's unfortunate that the lyrics, across the entire album are however nothing to write home about. Mood varies from uplifting in ‘Moon Child’ and ‘Summer In My Lungs’, contemplative and forlorn (‘You Could Use Me As A Weapon’, ‘Palladian Park’) to psychadelic/punk influenced, feistier pieces like ‘Digital Dead’ and the more laid back ‘Luna Zep’ and ‘Cannibal Life II’.
Nitpicking aside ‘Triggerpunkte’ is undeniably one of the most polished, complex and vibrant releases we’ve heard this year so far. It’s an album we can point to and confidently state that this is why we expect more from bands around the country - no more settling.
Words: Diya Gupta