Originally published in the Hindu Metroplus Bangalore edition on June 22nd, 2013
Grasshopper – Mirrors of the Mind
Rs 120 (MP3)
It’s pretty amazing where Indian musicians have reached, in terms of producing and recording music. Even as early as five years ago, programmed drums sounded like an old drum machine’s stiff beats, but now, the average Indian rock fan can’t tell whether drums used on a song were tracked off a computer, or played and recorded live. One among several bands making sure they have the best production and sound on the album is cinematic psychedelic band Grasshopper. Their debut full-length album, Mirrors of the Mind is a dark, film-score-like trip with a good amount of diverse rock elements.
Of course, with all psychedelic music, production needs to be top notch, and Grasshopper’s principal songwriters Gaurav Shah (guitars) and Rahul Singh (keys/synthesiser) leave no stone unturned to ensure every sprawling, lush, atmospheric movement is mind-expanding. From the opening song ‘Deadweight’, they establish the cinematic-ness of it all. Footsteps, voice samples, and eerie sounds all register, before moving on to a more psychedelic, dreamy sequence on ‘Monochrome Night’. Mirrors of the Mind is best heard on headphones or on a fancy 5.1 surround sound player, when every sound can creep up on you when you least expect it. The two-part song ‘The Gatekeeper’s Speech’ throws in a bit of progressive rock, in the vein of Porcupine Tree.
One part that may confuse most listeners is the Hindi language vocals from Bhaven Dhanak. None of his fault, but to find Hindi lyrics when all the song titles (and the album name) is in English may not be an intentional mistake on Grasshopper’s part. ‘Map of Hopes’ and ‘Dancing on the Leaves of Silence’ feature mellow guitar lines swelling through verses to a chorus and then dropping again.
You’re not once questioning the production value of it all, but sometimes, you feel Grasshopper could have paid a bit more attention to the songwriting itself. They do aim it well, creating cinematic music fit best for one of those off-beat Bollywood films, but go a bit overboard on the closing song ‘Weightless’, a nine-minute epic jumping too many movements to keep the listener interested. Shah breaks into dreamy solos more than once, but it’s nothing attention-grabbing.
Buy Mirrors of the Mind on oklisten.com/grasshopper