• Sat, Jun 25, 2022
Reviews

Second Sight Does It All On New Album

8.5

album Reviews Nov 28, 04:43pm

There is more variety on ‘Coral’ than you would believe
 Photo Courtesy: Ankit Gupta, Robert Thompson

That this is Mumbai duo Second Sight’s debut full-length, is, again, a bit amusing to think of considering how long they’ve been making music. There have been a bunch of singles over the last few years and with every one, they have shown their deep, varied repertoire. They’ve shown that they’re comfortable with a huge range of sounds and influences, but this new album ‘Coral’ really takes it up several, several notches. There are so many moments while listening to the 40+ minutes of music here that you will suddenly catch yourself and think “Wait, they’re trying this?” And yes, they try out so many things that it really sounds like a 10-band compilation album. And they get every one of their experiments right. This takes guts and talent.

Every song is its own little world here. The opener ‘When The Moon Was Ours’ is a quiet little acapella piece with some great harmonies from both members; Anusha Ramasubramoney and Pushkar Srivatsal, namely. Their voices always have a low-key but nice harmonic dynamic, and they use it to the hilt. ‘Dim Lights’ is something of a jazzy neo-soul tune (think Hiatus) which open up ever so slightly as it goes on, with a protracted sax solo and some more strident grooves. ‘Helpless’ goes into modern R&B (of course, there’s a little rap verse that someone like Noname would love), and features a solid performance from singer-songwriter RANJ. The bassline gets a special mention here; it’s filthy. Of course, considering the scope of the album, it is littered with collaborators. Bombay Brass lands up here. So do Warren Mendonsa, Meera Desai and more.

 

 

‘Fragile’ is in a more ballad-y space, accentuated by some piano, appropriately woozy guitars and a ton of vocal runs. Of course, this seems to be a place where the band sounds comfortable and at their subtle best. ‘Poison’ is a bit jazzy in spirit and presentation; there are some awesome harmonies and maybe the nicest grooves on the album to be found here. The duo love playing with tempo and energy at multiple points here. ‘One’ is a slinky little track which is much more melody-reliant than the other songs here. ‘La Hermosa Tristeza’ is a complete left turn that jumps straight into Spanish influences without a shred of warning, guitar sounds and all. The vocals do retain something of their now-usual jazzy feel, but this is a complete switch-up that you’d be hard-pressed to see coming. It’s still, of course, a hell of a song and one of the album’s highlights. ‘Make Me Better’ is another oddity, a full-on ballad that echoes the old school as much as it does the turn-of-the-century and has some truly wonderful guitar layers that hide in the background until you find them (they go from Daavid T.Walker to funk on a dime). This goes into a groovy, groovy section that is a sort of counterpoint to the more chill, late-night ‘verses’. The album contains two bonus tracks, but it does seem like this is the point where it sort of gives its final word. There is really is more here that one can imagine.

So yes, absolutely, there’s a lot going on here. One would of course assume that this album must then be some sort of hotchpotch, but the biggest surprise of ‘Coral’ is that somehow, some way, it really isn’t. Sure, much can be made of all the stylistic shift et al, but the band does have a style. It’s quiet, subtle and a bit technical. That’s the common thread that run throughout this thing, and that is actually the silent star of the show. All the variety is pretty cool too, though.

 

Listen here.

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