Originally published in the Hindu Metroplus Bangalore edition on July 11th, 2013
Slow Down Clown – Forget The Night
Rs 200 (CD); Rs 100 (MP3)
Alternative rock band Slow Down Clown’s frontman Vitek Goyel has a funny picture of him wearing a T-shirt which proudly claims he’s a “townie”. For those not in the know, that’s a Mumbai term for those who reside in South Mumbai, usually referred to as “town”. Though townies are typified to be snobbish, upper class folks with all the spoils, Goyel and Slow Down Clown (comprising guitarist Anurag Shanker, bassist Wilson Kenneth and drummer Arfaaz Kagalwala) stay far away from the kind you can’t relate to. On their debut full-length album, Forget The Night, the band pens a wonderful, misty and melancholic tribute to the city of Mumbai.
The best part is they don’t do it by talking about potholes and politicians. They open with an ode to the sea, with a sparkling nine minute-long mellow jam called ‘Shoreline’ which picks up when it needs to, stays repetitive, but never gets boring. They tick all the boxes on the Indian indie sheet, not just by recording and distributing their album all by themselves, but by making sure the first song you hear is the most convincing one, regardless of how long or short it is.
If you made it through ‘Shoreline’, the rest of Forget The Night is a sublime collection of (probably) deep, personal feelings ranging from despair (‘The Disappearing Boy’) to unrequited love (‘Stupid Sea’) to even successful, requited love (on the djembe-guitar jam ‘Bandra Girls’). There’s a smooth, mellow sound to most songs, comparable to the likes of R.E.M and Third Eye Blind. It’s certainly inspired by American rock, but the lyrics make it stand out. Goyel touches upon suicide and depression, something that’s all too common in a metropolis like Mumbai. On ‘You Lie’, there’s a sweet despair in his voice, just as it gets rightly brooding on ‘Perfect,’ where Goyel sings “But dreams like that don’t just fall apart/They fade away in the darkness of this town.”
Slow Down Clown takes up a few experiments but also stays safe at times, with their alt rock sound being not-so-stand out in parts. Even then, this is exactly the kind of Indian independent music that needs support – to continue putting out albums which serve as a collection of not just music, but as stories from a city and its experiences in the city – like a storybook that doesn’t need a lot of images to be visual.
Stream and buy Forget the Night on slowdownclown.bandcamp.com