This is the fat and ugly stepsister of pop music, and it's basically sublime. Of course, by 'this', I mean the record. See, magazines have word counts. So let's just call this album TROTPOWAHVHP and talk about it instead. It fuses right to its core a dirty, putrid, almost disintegrating aesthetic soaked knee-deep in noise and a musical pop sensibility that even the most seasoned popstars would struggle to replicate on a good day. The clatter and jangle of the super lo-fi production resonates in tandem with the piercing squeals and shrieks for help that the guitar frequently makes. And then, all of a sudden, the chords progress to a gorgeous and understated flourish (as on 'Glass Jaw'). At the back – way, way at the back – an alluring melody begins to develop through the processed, reverbed, delayed, often megaphoned vocals. The entire process then functions pretty much in reverse ('Super Glue'), where the shattering screeches of feedback and borderline atonality fight with the lovely little guitar noodles for attention. It's all very confusing, with traces of punk, art-rock, noise-rock, pop, metal, (and disco, apparently) all jostling with each other and making fleeting appearances in a sound that, while indeed a jumble, is still inherently individualistic and undeniably cool.
And why not? Hoirong does happen to be the vision of one Kamal Singh from Bangalore, part of pioneering experimental outfit Lounge Piranha in the past. It doesn't always go to plan though – the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry and all that – as on 'Cyborg Supernova Lipgloss' and the meandering and speculative 'Danny', where the delicate balance that most of the record finds between noise and melody is upset just a tad. But then, we didn't walk in expecting a perfect record because no such thing should rightfully exist. It's a deliberate foray into a sound that essentially pushes the limits of the perception of accessible melody and noise. The vision sparks through for the most part, and the scratchy, dismembered treatment to the production is a welcome antidote to the pristine values that a lot of bands in the country are adopting. There's a place for everything, and this record deserves a special spot in the huddle of contemporary music coming out of India.
Listen to Hoirong's debut below: