Quite unsurprisingly, cross-continental duo Gods Robots’ self-titled début album (Folktronic, Sony Music India) boasts of moments of unsullied pop bliss.
A year ago, I had the opportunity of interviewing the duo – San Francisco-based DJ/Producer Janaka Atugoda and Mumbai-based chanteuse Shridevi Keshavan – who were precisely one EP old back then.
In a span of 12 months, Gods Robots bubbled up, exploded and unleashed their full length début extravaganza – ‘Gods Robots‘ – which releases today, the 7th of June, 2013.
If their hugely promising 4-song EP ‘Stormy Weather‘ was anything to go by, I expected ‘Gods Robots‘ to be an irresistibly heady, vibrant and eclectic collage of some of the most diverse genres of music out there.
Listening to the entire 12-track album on loop, I may now say that it’s been a privilege to watch the band come into their own.
As soon as the album’s first song ‘Stay‘, originally released as a single last year, comes swooping into the speakers with a lingering Sarod intro, you are well enveloped in the triumphant blend of Electronica, Dubstep, Hip Hop, Jazz, Classical Indian, Trip Hop, Ska, Neo-Soul that define the band’s surreal sound – it’s a potent mix of menacing bass-heavy beats and soulful melodies that seamlessly nourish tales of love, longing, war, hope and joy.
The pace remains relentless through the first 17 minutes of the album, a solid set of brooding tunes including ‘Falling‘ and ‘Missing A Beat‘ – featuring Suhail Yusuf Khan and Alam Khan on the Sarangi and the Sarod respectively – as well as the duo’s second video and single, ‘Burn It Up‘. Shridevi’s ecstatic vocals are a giddy split between a stripped-down Dolores O’Riordan and neo-soul pioneer Erykah Badu, navigating each cut fearlessly.
It’s from song number 5, the poignant ‘Stormy Weather‘, that the album changes its pace. Easily one of the album’s most buoyant offerings, Shridevi’s lush melancholic vocals bring forth a palpable pain as she cuts way, way deep with the autobiographical number depicting the duo’s journey to where they are now.
‘Nothing seems to compare
The journey that we share
We’re made of colors so rare
Our paths cross unawares
I hold it close to me
In the stormy weather
I wrap the dew drops
When the morning’s over’
‘Stormy Weather‘ is followed by a soulful slice of pop excellence and easily the album’s finest moment – the jazz-kissed ‘One By Four‘ – my favorite song on the album, along with ‘Stormy Weather‘. A winning combination of Keshavan’s warm velvety vocals as she brings it down a notch to match pace with the slow-burning desolate bass as well as Suhail and Alam’s crystalline melodies, this one is an incredibly cohesive and delicious affair as Keshavan seductively croons –
‘It’s on the tip of my tongue
Cascade of words unspun
Catch them when they come
One by One’
There’s really no way to adequately describe Janaka’s stellar productions here. May I just add, baby-making slow-jam par excellence?
The album changes pace again from moody to tranced-out with ‘Rain‘ , ‘Jamuna‘ and ‘All You Have‘ following ‘One By Four‘, while the bonus tracks ‘Break The Spell‘, ‘Shine‘ and the dreamy Drumstep-infused-Carnatic-tinged ‘Strange Old Song‘ – inspired from the song ‘Sly‘ by Massive Attack – concludes one of the most intriguing début efforts I’ve heard in a while.
‘Gods Robots‘ easily transcends the mediocrity of pop saturating the airwaves lately. The solid set of entrancing cuts shows growth in all the right places as the duo choose to stretch outside of their comfort zone. A complete triumph, ‘Gods Robots‘ could very well be the new direction in which pop music is headed.
Take a bow, Janaka and Shridevi!
‘Gods Robots‘ releases today (Folktronic, Sony Music) in India.
Buy the album on iTunes right here :