Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Reviews:: Vivek Shraya If We're Not Talking


Some people make a splash in the blog pool. If we are using that analogy, Vivek Shraya just did one of those huge cannonballs that soak all the bikini clad teens sunning themselves on the pool deck. He recently offered up a free download of his unreal twist on The White Stripes 7 Nation Army. Proving the point that everyone loves a great cover, he started getting some blog love (herohill included).

Well, Vivek was nice enough to send us over his debut record - If We're Not Talking - and it’s a surprisingly fresh listen. Unlike his blasting cover track, his LP doesn't rely on huge bass lines. He (with help from his collaborator Meg) uses varying tempos, subtly and even glams it up from time to time. Instead of simply making you shake your ass, Vivek seems more focused on creating songs that sound great playing on your Ipod. He still has some ass shakers in his bag of tricks, like the dirty, dance floor ready Scratch or the lead track Chemistry, but the record shows a lot different sounds I wasn't ready for.

On Fevered, he goes all Bowie - I think the opening riff is lifted from Suffragette City (I am probably wrong). Vivek breaks into falsettos and you can imagine him strutting around with big kicks and theatrics. I Won't Envy and If We're Not Talking find Vivek channeling Prince (or maybe Midnight Vultures-era Beck), but it's the programming that stands out. He avoids the trap of forcing boombastic beats that blow out of your headphones into every song, and this lets you really settle into the groove. It's only after a few listens you start to grasp the depth and textures he adds into the song.

He's able to successfully slow the pace to a crawl (which usually results in me hitting the skip button) by adding interesting fuzz, feedback and harmonies. Power starts off so simply, but he adds harmonies, synth effects and a nice bass kick before adding a frantic layer onto top of it all for the last verse. SOS actually plays like an electro gospel number (or maybe a love scene from Flashdance), with only the needed beats and distortion balancing the vocals.

The most immediate track is his duet with the lovely Sara Quin. Your Name combines her sparse keyboard work and trademark vocals with Vivek's building beat and the sounds mesh really well (it's an interesting play to hear him take the take the high parts on the song). The track could stand alone with Vivek's efforts, but the addition of one of the most recognizable mulleted indie rockers makes this track a must have.

MP3:: Chemistry
MP3:: your Name - ft. Sara Quin

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Posted at 4:07 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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