At what point does trip-hop, with all its dreaminess and softness and lushness and etceteras, degenerate into aimlessly safe music meant to induce narcolepsy? Sulk Station tread that line dangerously through the entire duration of Till You Appear, swinging from majestic passages of subtle textures and introspective wordplay to safe and overdone patterns which can get too boring for comfort at times.
Having said that, it’s still a daring album, albeit in an Indian context. There aren’t too many artists in the country playing/writing similar music, even if the sound has been popular in western civilization for a while, and for that, it deserves a few honest listens at the least. Crafty instrumental programming and a fuzzy drum production, equal parts Radiohead and Portishead to this reviewer’s ears, oscillates from the forefront during the instrumental passages, before carefully retreating into the backseat as the coarse vocals – with a very soothing and melodic centrality – take over. The intermittent Hindi lyrics come across as a bit odd and kitschy, but that’s the vibe the Bangalore duo’s trying to project, as on ‘Splendor’. The production and the songwriting work in harmony, quite well too, but the major flaw on the album is the at times bland and slightly repetitive nature of the music. It’s more mood music which requires a certain state of mind for optimum satisfaction.