Originally published in the Hindu Magazine on October 21, 2012.
Adam and the Fish Eyed Poets – Songs from an Island
One reason Chennai can claim to have made a credible contribution to the Indian indie scene is alternative rock band Adam and the Fish Eyed Poets. As an aside, 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.
What sets Kishore Krishna and his gang apart is how this is the third album released in around two years, setting the mark for being prolific in a scene which struggles to record and put out albums. What’s more, by the end of the year, a sequel to this album titled More Songs from an Island will reach fans in December.
But going back to this album, Songs from an Island is a concept album, with back story events set a year ahead in the future – which is nothing too unrealistic. The story revolves around the arranged marriage of Shanthi and Ravi, which is seemingly set to fail right from the start. Zero intimacy, sexual frustration, and an attraction to Katy Perry are presented with the wry, twisted humour Krishna is often known to pen down in his lyrics. The poet in him has never gone astray, though; the album closer ‘Cracks on the Screen’ has Shanthi, the female protagonist, helplessly watching her marriage become 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 on this album, with guitars made to ring in an epic manner throughout an empty room, like on ‘Entreaty’. Electronic beats feature less prominently compared to previous records, and the signature dark soundscapes are foregone, which indicates that 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 the most 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.
Songs From An Island is available for purchase on the band’s OKListen page: http://www.oklisten.com/adamandthefisheyedpoets