With the advent of amazing music recording and production technology, lots of bands are putting out “albums” easily, and quite fast. Having seen the bad side of Indie bands albums, I wasn’t very excited to hear about the launch of another local band’s album. I’d never had the chance to see Jester play live, and had no idea what to expect from them. I hit play, with some excitement, and touch of skepticism.
Right from the first track I was blown away! This had all the makings of a spectacularly produced and well thought out album, as I would later come to realize, is the case.
The album opens with ‘Primer’, a beautifully produced electro intro, setting the mood and standard for the rest of the album. Evocative delay-ridden synth plinks transition almost seamlessly straight into the next track, plainly named ‘Sepia’. The second track, as the name suggests is a song about memories fading over time. I fail to hear most of the lyrics unless I try really hard. I wish the vocal levels were just a touch louder. The guitar work, and the changes through the song are quite notable – exciting stuff.
The next track, ‘La Questa‘, opens very elegantly on the same thematic stage setup by the previous tracks. The vocalist has great texture, and comes out with an amazing range in this in-your-face love song. Up next is ‘Harlequin’, and finally, the rhythm section of the band comes out front and center – very tight and driving. A great plus, great tones all around.
‘Broken Arrow‘ opens with a very ‘But It Rained’(Parikrama) like refrain. The whole song was very reminiscent of the early Parikrama sound in many ways. This is probably the most old-school sounding indie-band song on the album. Yet, it managed to hold its own and sounded fresh.
‘Big Bad Wolf‘, their most popular single so far, sadly didn’t live up to its place in the album. It just felt like a perfect place to put a generally high-energy track. While I see the makings of a great high-energy track here, it just feels like something about this track is off. I’m going to write it off to a lower volume level for the rhythm section, which probably killed it for me.
Surprisingly, the next track picked up the energy a touch, though I felt that that the tempo could’ve been a bit higher at least for the album version, if not the live version. In many ways this is a great final track. As it brings great changes, and a variety of sections, keeping things very interesting.
I was expecting another track after this but it’s a great choice to have stopped here. The album lets off on a high, and has a slight feeling of incompleteness that wants you to come back and listen to the whole thing again. As a side note, Blackstratblues is a wonderful album to playlist immediately after this.
Something that most local/indie bands forget to realize is that an album isn’t merely a collection of songs. One doesn’t have to go to the extreme of making every album a ‘concept album’, but there always has to be some semblance of a single body of work, laid out in a meaningful and artistic manner, and this is what makes a legendary album. And this is what makes the compilation of an album, an art form. Jester and Keshav Dhar, have nailed it on all these fronts. I’m going to be listening to this album for hours now. It could easily turn out to be one of this year’s best albums, and hopefully a future standard for other bands to strive toward. This album is going on my iPad, my phone, and all other devices, I’m going to be recommending it to all my friends. That’s something that I can’t claim for many indie bands’ albums.