Listen: Begum Debut Album ‘Bagh’

28 August 2014

Last night (27 August) saw the long wait for Begum’s debut album finally come to an end with the release of their lo-fi 10 track LP, titled ‘Bagh’, on Bandcamp.

Begum has kept this city talking since the beginning of 2014 - its members easing into their new avatars with a live performance alongside fellow Delhi rockers Hoirong in February which was soon followed by the release of a short teaser for ‘Bagh’ and the launch of their website. Their impressive single ‘Waiting’ came later in June and a video for album opener – ‘Chinbien’ was released last month (reviewed here).

Two of Begum’s members – frontman Kartik Pillai and drummer Karan Singh are also part of the widely acclaimed and always enjoyable Peter Cat Recording Co. and along with Kshitij Dhani on bass; the trio had everyone’s expectations set high for ‘Bagh’.

Opening with the familiar sounds of Chinbien, the album is impressively consistent in the quality of music it offers. Each track is coloured with a unique character whether it’s the uplifting sounds, refrains and riffs of ‘In The Basement’ (it’s hard to get rid of that ‘woah-oh’ refrain from your head) and ‘Make It Till 4’ to Begum’s slightly forlorn tunes.

‘Raj D Minor’ sees a balanced, restrained use of instrumentation, producing a stripped down sound laced with Kartiks languid voice. Begum’s stark sounds linger with the scratchy guitar tones and emotive tones of the wistful ‘Lonely Roads’.

The band’s conservative structural approach is most evident in the 7 minute long piano piece that is ‘Imposter (Intermission)’. ‘Imposter’ opens with a carefully enunciated vocal sample that sounded all too familiar, but took a lot of brain bashing to correctly identify (this is it). It’s a lengthy, bittersweet track played on the keys with enough melodic variation to keep you interested.

The previously released ‘Waiting’ is one of the bands strongest tracks and features on the next half of the album along with the hazy, echoey ‘As He Was’ and ‘Marry Me’ – a hopeful, charming tune which, we’ve heard, is going to get its very own music video soon. ‘Bagh’ closes at a seaside across the strait with Arugambay – a tune that features a great bass riff by Kshitij.

We predict that this won’t be the last we will be hearing from Begum and it looks ‘Bagh’ might be one of the more popular albums released so far - it’s an easy album to like and very accessible. Follow Begum on Facebook and check out their website for more updates. You can stream the album below and buy it here on Bandcamp.

Words: Diya Gupta


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