Emotional notes

Artist: KitchensinkAlbum: Harmless Things

In between the ‘I’ and ‘You’ of New Delhi jazz-rock band Kitchensink’s debut album Harmless Things, vocalist Smiti Malik echoes a sort of universal sentiment: “To listen is to learn, is to grow.” Her pitch in just these two songs remain starkly different from the rest of the album, a saccharine tone that introduces her emotional depth.

In between, the rest of the eight tracks see Kitchensink – formed in 2014 – traverse jazz, rock, synth-led experiments and the occasional guitar noises. In the steadily groovy and shimmering ‘Silence’, bassist Amar Pandey holds his own, as Ritwik De adds layers on synth and keys, occasionally breaking into a lead. Drummer Siddharth Jain begins on ‘The Loop’, in which Malik talks about lovers in a maze, even as the instrumentalists indulge themselves in a game of tag, guitarist Adhir Ghosh showcases his jazz chops.

Where Kitchensink likes to be traditionally jazz or employ straight-up rock, Malik uses her somewhat staid harmonies and hooks to good effect, like in ‘Copycat’. The dark rise and break progression of ‘Making Meaning’ is subtly punctuated by De’s synth glitches, but despite a few good guitar leads, the six-minute track seems a tad overindulgent. Malik puts herself at her most emotive on ‘Paperthin’, but when you’re on the sixth track, the structures begin to sound somewhat repetitive. Where they do shine, however, is the latest single ‘Funny Girl’. Ghosh, Pandey and De just burstinto a chunky riffed lead, as Malik sings of the ironies of sexism and how girls are told to behave all their lives. This jam, more than any other, would hold anyone’s attention not just for the solid rhythm section, but also for Malik’s instantly memorable choruses.

In Harmless Things Kitchensink shows that they can perfect melancholy. But if you’re more into the instrumentation, there’s a reward in their tidy yet sometimes genre-bending (like the spaced-out synth blitz by De on ‘The Fall’), intelligent progressions as well.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 10:13:49 PM |

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