Shaa’ir + Func: Light Tribe
Shaa’ir + Func’s second album suffers from what I call the “second child syndrome”. Here’s how it goes — you put in all your creativity and effort into the first child, after which you have none left to actually deal with the second.
Largely recognised as India’s premier electronica duo, Monica Dogra and Randolph Correia’s second effort ‘Light Tribe’ falls flat on its face. Most of the songs on the album sound like residue from a bad pop remix album from some obscure DJ. Monica’s sexy voice seems wasted as they try and dance hopelessly around some rather inane lyrics. The first album sounded fresh from the oven — it was hot and made you drool all over it, while this one feels more like leftovers from a bad Diwali meal.
Songs like “You + Me” and “Pull Myself Together” provide a sense of instant déjà vu and you end up trying to recall where you’ve heard those bass lines before. Now, I know the lyrics are not what I should be concentrating on when I listen to a dance-pop/electronic album, but the fact that they’re so ridiculously insane make you think about how little work has been put into them. As Monica Dogra points out so astutely during the song “All My Colours”, ‘nothing rhymes with orange’.
Honestly, I couldn’t listen to the entire album in one sitting without getting a splitting headache, and the only songs that I could listen to again were “Do It Again”, “Embrace” and “Selling Our Souls”, the latter built around a chant that goes “Hey kid! Rock and roll”. The bumpy “Lord Inside” is a fun track to listen to, something like a modern day prayer, thanking the Lord for all the good things in life. “Embrace” more or less runs away as the best song off the album.
The reason that this album lacks the fizz that the first one generated is that Messrs Dogra and Correia try and do too much with every song here. The layer after layer after layer of beep-bop-beep-beep gets on your nerves when you’re not on the dance floor, which for most people is, well, most of the time.
To put a lid on this, let me just put it this way: when I listened to the first album by Shaa’ir + Func, I thought this could be our very own Portishead. Now, I’m wary of having our very own Pussycat Dolls.