In addition to being the frontman for alternative metal band Goddess Gagged, singer-songwriter Siddharth Basrur has been singing film songs in Bejoy Nambiar’s David and Haunted. But he’s essentially a product of the scene, dating back to his days with Mumbai-based alt rock band Kinky Ski Munky in the early noughties.
He brings his scene friends with him on the first of three EPs/parts/chapters that constitute his debut solo album, Chasing Rain. There are a few solos and fuzzy guitars from Jishnu Guha, bass from Adil Kurwa and stickwork by Zain Calcuttawala.
Guest spots include fellow Goddess Gagged guitarist Devesh Dayal on ‘In Between’ and vocals from blues and funk singer Naina Kundu on ‘Battleships’. Chasing Rain has been a long time coming, for both fans and Basrur himself, considering the fact that he had been performing some of these songs at least a year and a half ago. It’s a bit of an unnecessary tease (or call it clever marketing) to put the album out in three parts.
The five songs on Chasing Rain Chapter 1 — starting with the easygoing ‘In Between’ and ending with the playful jazz-inspired, metaphor-strewn duet ‘Battleships’ — are straightforward, simple rock tunes for everyday listening. Except for ‘Rain’, which is meant for that one season Basrur so enjoys, he decided to write an upbeat, catchy song about it. He’s almost mirroring Garbage’s Shirley Manson, except he’s not being emo when he says he’s happy when it rains. Basrur becomes (presumably) doe-eyed on ‘Stay’ as he makes pleading with his girl simple.
Only the penultimate track ‘Lifting the Veil’ is a bit unremarkable. But since it clocks in at a little over two minutes, it’s not too much to skip. Chances are, if Basrur had released Chasing Rain in its entirety, a few more unnoticed songs may have pulled his album down into being disinteresting in parts.
But this first instalment will keep everyone hooked for the most part. The music is almost as simple as the artwork, but it’s Basrur's lyrics and distinctive vocals which give Chasing Rain Chapter 1 the edge to avoid being dubbed generic alternative rock.
Bottomline: It’s celebratory, reflective and sad.
Chasing Rain Chapter 1; Siddharth Basrur, Available on oklisten.com/Siddharthbasrur,
Rs. 50 (Mp3)