• Thu, May 28, 2020
Reviews

Dhruv Kapoor Is Measured And Personal With New EP

7.0

album Reviews Apr 20, 02:41pm

‘Heartbreak Paradise’ is husky, intimate and feels ‘close’
 Photo Courtesy: Dhruv Kapoor

Simply put, ‘Heartbreak Paradise’ is a short 4-song EP from Delhi-based Dhruv Kapoor. It deals with love and, well, heartbreak. Dhruv sounds sad and lonely throughout the 12-odd minutes of music on here, and the instrumentation is suitably quiet and atmospheric to suit the subject matter. So what’s there to say about this EP that hasn’t already been said about every third indie or I’m sad and I have an acoustic guitar release that’s come out since the beginning of time? Well, it’s honest, it’s perfectly paced, it sounds well-produced, and above all, it’s surprisingly fresh despite its well-worn tropes.

There has been a veritable deluge of releases with lovelorn subject matter in the recent past in the scene (are you all ok, by the way?) and many of them have failed simply because it seems like they have tried to shoehorn whatever they want to say into the broad box that is indie music. As important and good as experimentation and freedom of musical expression is, it has turned out that the general atmosphere that the genre creates works well for certain thing more naturally. Direct and honest lyrics about loss (emphasis on ‘direct’) are one of these things. Dhruv uses the tools available to him well and, above all else, respects the limitation of his chosen sound. There’s a great balance between slightly overwrought poetry and plain storytelling. His voice never rises above a half-whisper; it welcomes the listener into the cozy and fuzzy space he tries to create. The production similarly echoes this; the main players are an acoustic guitar, a little bit of clean electric, and some soft keys. There is not a single thing on here that disturbs the listener from their quiet meditation on love and all things sentimental. And lastly, the 4 tracks are wonderfully short with the tiniest bit of variation between them to sound like an EP and not one large sob-fest.

 

 

‘Stay’ starts with the guitar and keys that are the sounds you will hear for the next 11 minutes. Dhruv has a laid-back and very low-power delivery; it sounds like he’s just vocalizing his thoughts instead of purposefully singing, which is a great way to put things across in this musical context. The track is a bit poetic but nothing outside the bounds of the genre. There are subtle touches like a quiet, woolly piano and some subdued shaker that don’t really make themselves heard but would be missed. ‘Sober Up’ (which starts with the hilarious lyric ‘I sobered up with a glass of whisky’) is all about him drowning himself in the Devil’s drink to get over his painful memories of a relationship gone by. Indie music is criminally underrated in the world of genres to drink to, and this track sort of illustrates the introspective and wistful quality that makes it so great for lonely late nights. ‘She Came’ is the best track on the EP with its slow delivery, very mushy lyrics and smooth transitions into bits of lead guitar. The title track that closes the EP is a bit too generic and ‘positive’ to be perfect, but it lives in the same place.

As with everything that comes out sounding like this, the biggest mistake one can make is to expect something new. That’s not the point. ‘Heartbreak Paradise’ isn’t trying to be new or introduce some unheard-of sounds. It’s trying to join the club of well-told stories and well-made (if bare) music for sad people to listen to. In that sense it’s a good release, and that’s the only sense in which to take it.

Listen to the EP here.

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