Odyssey – No Hay Banda
Rs 120 (iTunes MP3)
What are you thinking of when you hear there’s a rock band from Surat, Gujarat?
If you’re like me, then you go into listening to Odyssey’s debut psychedelic, alternative rock album with no expectations whatsoever. And that’s one of the best ways to listen to a band. The band has been around since 2009 but only now broken through with a worldwide digital release of their album No Hay Banda. That’s Spanish for “There is no band.” While you won’t see those words mentioned anywhere on the record by vocalist and bassist Yogendra Saniyawala (the vocals are mostly in English, and with the exception of Hindustani Classical vocal harmonies on ‘Where You Been?’), the album title is fitting for music that doesn’t necessarily want to be pigeonholed.
Be that as it may, there’s the epic 12-minute spaced out number ‘Nostradamus’ and the dark, twisted jam ‘Sturmkommen’ that clearly indicates this band knows how to expand minds with their music.
The other signs of their diversity on No Hay Banda come across through the opening ‘Bringing Back The Tigers’, which is a heavy rock number dealing with philosophical matters, much like the rest of the songs.
Another good way to describe Odyssey is organic rock, which is suggested by the fuzzy guitar tones, the drums beats sounding off exactly when necessary, and the bass and keyboard striking a good balance between being dark on songs like ‘Prefix’ and ‘Redemption’.
Their first single, ‘B Flat Minor’, is wonderfully slow, mellow and certainly not the catchiest thing from the band, but it still works on the album, rather than as a stand-alone single. But what No Hay Banda is actually about is experimentation, and a good example of an independent, alternative rock band that’s not afraid to make the music for themselves, rather than work to release music with a lot of commercial appeal.
For the existing bands of India to have inspired something like that in a Surat band, who are probably pretty lonely out there, in terms of bands that play what they want, reflects on this album.