Thermal And A Quarter: This Is It
First things first. Before I get into total adulation mode about the awesomeness of Thermal and a Quarter’s fourth (yes, fourth) album, let me take a moment to congratulate the guys from Bangalore on the feat. Four albums for an Indian band is an impressive and extremely notable achievement.
Recorded and mixed over 10 days at A R Rahman’s A M Studios (Chennai) and mastered at Gastwirt Mastering in California, ‘This Is It’, TAAQ’s latest silky smooth jazz rock offering is rightly billed as the most cutting-edge rock album ever to be release in India by an Indian band. With a sound that is identified by now as being distinctly ‘TAAQ’, Bruce and the boys head forth into unchartered territories with a confidence that comes with the knowledge of being by far the most accomplished band in India. Although claims to that title will come flying in from all quarters, few bands can match the easy-on-the-ear, pleasing-to-the-mind songwriting style that Thermal And A Quarter bring to their music.
The album opens with “This Is It”, a cleverly written song about the slow but almost certain demise of everything non-filmy in the Indian music scene. “It’s the way of the dinosaur, and who knows, maybe someday, we’ll find ‘Plan B’ in a hit movie”, before he settles into a trademark solo. “How Can I Get Your Groove” is the quintessential love song that dissolves itself in the sugary sweet solution of longing for some lovin’. “Holy Jose” is the “Chainese Item” of this album, with Rzhude’s voice portraying how a guy from Kerala can gel everywhere and with everyone.
“Without You”, “Words and Pictures” and “Hot Day” drip with some more of the sexy, groovy guitar playing, overlaid with Rajeev Rajagopalan’s classy drumming. And if there was ever a poet in the Indian rock music scene, Bruce Lee Mani is him.
The album was finally released on CD on the band’s recent tour of southeast Asia, and true to their word, Thermal And A Quarter remain one of the only bands in the world to have written their songs without ever using the word “baby”. With names like Jeff Peters and Joe Gastwirt making appearances on the album as well, the music is as fresh as it ever gets.
‘This Is It’ has everything that Thermal And A Quarter have stood for over the past 12 years. Do yourself a favour, listen to the album, and go get yourself a copy.