One reason why Chennai can claim to have made a credible contribution to the Indian indie scene is because of alternative rock band Adam and the Fish Eyed Poets. The other two chief reasons, arguably, are Harsha Iyer and the Shakey Rays. These three artists have, in all probability, inspired several bands in the city to pick up their guitars and strive to write original music.
Songs from an Island is a concept album, with back story events set a year ahead in the future, which is not too unrealistic. The story revolves around the arranged marriage of Shanthi and Ravi, which is seemingly set to fail right from the start. In the album closer, ‘Cracks on the Screen’, Shanthi watches helplessly as her marriage becomes unsalvageable: “It’s not easy/when you’re on the wrong side of the glass/you can scratch and kick and complain/but you’re just going to have to sit through it all again.” Sonically, there’s an awful lot of reverb, with guitars made to ring in an epic manner through an empty room, like on ‘Entreaty’. Electronic beats are less prominent compared to earlier records, and the signature dark soundscapes are gone, indicating that Kishore Krishna seems to have evolved to choose pure guitar-based melodies. It gets mighty psychedelic and downright disturbing towards the middle when ‘Magic Wand’, ‘Shanthi’s Last Stand’ and ‘Dominus-Domina’ form a powerful, contagious reflection of the couple’s relationship.
But for those who prefer something softer, ‘Rise-upping’ and ‘The Devil’s Plateau’ are catchy with pop rock hooks.
Bottomline: Zero intimacy, sexual frustration, and an attraction to Katy Perry are presented with wry twisted humour.
Songs from an Island; Adam and the Fish Eyed Poets, www.oklisten.com/adamandthefisheyedpoets, Rs. 50