I’m fond of dividing music into genres. The arbitrary act of placing art into equally arbitrary boxes amuses me, as do most pointless efforts to chain the unchainable.
My friends call the music of Whale in the Pond ‘dreamfolk’. It’s a fitting qualifier, given that most of their music is just right for unfocused stares into the distance with mists of longing in the eyes. Their songs fit right into those obscure little pieces you come across on YouTube if you happen to click your way into the meandering digital vales of post-rock from cold Bavaria or atmospheric doom ballads from Norway.
The band is a trio : Sourjyo Sinha (primary songwriter, singer, musician), Shireen Ghosh (multi-instrumentalist, mixer, producer) and Deep Phoenix (guitars and percussion). Every last note on their debut EP has been composed, mixed and produced independently. They count on social media, friends and word-of-mouth to get their music out into the world. They are students who make music for indie films and ad jingles, ruminate on creating their own musicals and work hard at exams and academic papers.
If the whole thing sounds a bit too charming for real life, then you might already be experiencing their sound more profoundly than you think. The songs exude warmth; seemingly easy rhythm makes for eager engagement with the twilight-ballroom-world of ‘Araby‘ (“You make me crave for the ways you control me”) and the hypnagogic, dream-twinkle verses of ‘Marbles‘ (“Constellations align as I’m waiting, waiting home for you”). Both songs call on impulses nurtured by storytellers, lovers, nostalgia junkies and purposefully lost souls.
‘The Call‘ is the band’s trip to Yellow Submarine and Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. Wacky, but it manages to craft a chaotic sentimentality within its carefully counted notations. ‘Gadha’r Bachcha‘ is not as impressive, but ‘Autumn Winds’ dissolves you into the whisper of surreptitious strings and drifting lyricism that unassumingly concocts two minutes of hallucinatory courtship (“Its only you and I/ Amid the hay/ Beyond the orange sky/ Another day”).
At the end of a song named ‘A Gallant Gentleman’ by the Australian band We Lost The Sea, a crowd of seraphim-like voices appear to conclude it with a wordless sheath of incomparably beautiful vocal melody. Whale in the Pond’s EP often sounds like it aspires to reach that moment of absolute clarity, to explode its art into a climax of such unquestionable beauty that all you can do is rewind and replay without a word. They are not there yet, but I have not been this hopeful about an indie outfit since Tarana Marwah’s Komorebi (Delhi-based maker of auditory magic that you must find and obsess over).
In conclusion, their EP deserves many buys, downloads, shares, replays and many, many hours of sitting to and falling in love with. Whale in the Pond are the beginning of a sound that both creates and satisfies its own versions of yearning and memory. That’s a hard thing to do, especially in five songs. Go listen.