Fossils is one of the most well known and prolific Bangla Rock bands in India having released five studio albums already so their music is the perfect place to start if you want to delve into the world of Bangla Rock. Formed in 1998, they are a pioneering Bangla Rock band in the Indian music scene, so I already had high expectations before I even heard the album. Fossils released their sixth album in late , effectively showing that they have no intention to throw in the towel any time soon. After the chart topping Fossils 3, Fossils 4 has a lot to live up to and the band has not steered away from their trademark Alt-Rock sound almost guaranteeing the success of their latest album at least with their hardcore fans.
Yes, I realize that for a long time now, Bangla Rock has been the sound of my people. But I must admit that I never got around to appreciating the fine philosophical lyrics and angsty rock tunes that is characteristic of this genre. No other region in the country can claim to have captured a major mainstream music genre and tweaked it to suit the local palate more than the Bangla Rock-haven that is West Bengal.
Fossils 4 is a great album for any Bangla Rock admirer with powerful yet restrained vocals, catchy melodies and guitar-dominated interludes. Rupam is a master vocalist, able to convey the mood and meaning of the song very effectively even to those who do not understand Bengali. These veteran rockers with tons of swag and a large and ardent fan base – who have so many albums and live performances under their belt work together so well and have picked their songs very well for Fossils 4, making it very cohesive with the distinctive Fossils sound.
The album starts off with Khnoro Amar Fossil that is instantly likeable with an extremely earworm-y refrain and you will soon find yourself humming the lines “Tumi Ki Amar Hobe”. This is a song that will definitely pique your interest to listen to the rest of the album. With a relaxed guitar filled intro that suddenly drops in mood to lead into the lyrics, it is interesting right from the start. With breathy, moody vocals by Rupam, this song can seem very ballad-like but manages to stay clear of too much sentimentality.
The next track Bnaador is a rather playful track with cheeky lyrics and an upbeat tempo that will have your head bobbing. With the lyrics, Rupam seems to take a sharp swipe at the way things work now and the wording will make you salivate. The catchy riff and energetic tempo will definitely make this song a crowd favorite when played live. This song is followed by a very uplifting track Haajar Bichana – promising that things will get better and seems like a plea to not lose hope. With a dramatic intro and grand musical interludes, it almost sounds like it could be a classic Foo Fighters song. The big breaks give way to very poetic verses and the whole song has a very inspirational feel to it. At the five-minute mark, Haajar Bichana moves into a very dramatic and bold climax with the background and lead vocals belting out the chorus and the song ends with a very memorable flourish.
Mohakaash is a much softer and acoustic track that is a welcome break after three rocked out songs in the beginning. The subdued music shows off the vocals to great effect but the song quickly disintegrates and leads into a very unnecessary lead-guitar heavy bridge. The song would have been much more enjoyable without it and if you can ignore it, the rest of the song is very beautiful and melodic. The next three songs on the album Baari Esho, Shoytaan and Resolutions are much heavier and can make for quite a jarring transition from the gentler Mohakaash.
The lyrics, however, deal with various topics from Baari Esho talking about a creepy longing or lusting after a stranger whereas Shoytaan is an angry outburst at the resigned attitude of the people these days and the media. Although these tracks are heavier and have more angst, they can sound very monotonous and are unimpressive and the big dose of laughter and screaming thrown into the songs do nothing to help. The themes are trite and slightly pretentious and as a result the songs miss the mark.
After three grungy tracks, the album suddenly throws up a short instrumental track that is a great palate cleanser. Sthaabor Austhaabor is less than two minutes long and is spacey and atmospheric but changes the mood completely and acts almost as an introduction to the last track of the album. According to the band, this album deals with the extreme ups and downs of life and the name of the last track Mrityu seems fitting.
Mrityu does not really talk about death and the afterlife but how people are already dead on the inside when they are waiting for death to arrive. The song has a helpless feel to it and is raw and gritty but never earth-shatteringly loud. With great riffs and grooves, the song is not depressing and leaves a lasting impression as one is done listening to the album.
On the whole, this 9-track album is a triumph for Fossils as it pleases both existing fans and has the potential of getting first time listeners hooked onto the band. However, this album brings nothing new to the Fossils repertoire the band hasnt strayed much from their formula and have chosen to play it safe. It does have a great mix of some of the bands latest and oldest compositions with a good mix of alt-rock and edgier tunes. Their new drummer Tanmoy, is immensely talented and one wouldnt even realize that there was line-up change before Fossils 4 was made. Although the mellower songs on this album definitely shine more than the other heavier tunes on the album, Fossils 4 shows off the maturity and the growth of the band and its members in the past four years. The lyrics are much deeper than usual and the vocals are more refined. For a hardcore Fossils fan Fossils 4 is gold!