You can download the songs here.
Neelesh Mishra begins the pensieve journey with the protagonist’s early life at a terrorist-free time at Naini Tal, with Chhote Sheher Ka Banda. Mishra’s expressive lyrics, recited quite effectively by the man himself, have enough components to hit the right notes with the audience, instantly making you part of the story. And where Mishra stops his narrative, Amartya Rahut aka Bobo takes off with a beautifully arranged track called Yaadon Ke Idiot Box Mein rendered by the third member of The Band Called Nine, Shilpa Rao. The rock-flavored (and mildly Udaan-esque) track has a fair bit of innovations by the composer, like the sarangi portions in the first interlude. Mishra resumes at a later stage in Tanha Logon Ke Sheher Mein, alone and far away from home, reminiscing about the days of akashvani and PCOs and daftars and marveling at how things have changed. The sound mixing is pitch perfect with the right sounds at the right points, the typewriters to represent the govt offices being the best. And Bobo follows with Maazi which sees an interesting contrast on the vocals front, Suraj Jagan’s grungy rendition versus Shilpa Rao’s classical touch. In the end Shilpa emerges on top though, with some fantastic improvs at her end. The arrangement is quite impressive as well, this time the usage of the piano being the standout factor. With Canteen Ki Mez the lyricist takes the story further, while Suraj Jagan gets to render a second spruced up version of Yaadon Ke Idiot Box Mein that exudes a very 90s Indipop feel without sounding the slightest bit jaded. The narrator then takes us through some poignant moments of the protagonist’s love life culminating in his eloping with the girl in Pyaar Ka Monsoon Pyaar Ki Journey. Bobo goes for a sedate bluesy melody called Roobaru for the situation. While Suraj Jagan and Shilpa Rao doing their part brilliantly, the sax is the real winner in the song. The story moves on to the austere wedding and post-married life in the interestingly titled (and equally engagingly worded) Hamaare Jhagde Expiry Date Ke Saath Aate The. Shayad sees the composer go classic rock, and is easy pickings for Suraj and Shilpa being no newbies to the genre.
Things take a doleful turn with Main Koi Mohabbat Ka Mother Teresa Nahi Tha, the relation hitting rocky waters. Right on cue the composer comes out with another rock track rendered by Suraj, Aangan. With some excellent backing vocals and all, it is a wonderful listen, though I would have expected it to have a bit more of melancholy. The expected happens in Aakhir Shaadi Ka Fixed Deposit Toot Gaya, and this is one of the best tracks of Neelesh Mishra the lyricist and narrator, conveying the pain with impeccable exactitude, the cycle chain simile being a killer. Amartya Rahut presents a brilliant fusion track next with Naina Tore led by Shilpa Rao with her flawless singing, while some excellent sitar portions and rock and electronica make their appearance in the backdrop. Hopes return in Main Shaayad Rishton Ke Liye Bana Hi Nahi Tha, and the narrator turns singer with Unka Khayal, doing a fine rendition of the ghazal track alongside Shilpa. The composer uses an unplugged bluesy background for the song and the result is an absolute beauty. Mishra remembers the classic heartbroken lovers Gurudutt and Devdas while professing how Takleef Achchi Lagti Hai for every man. Then follows the last song of the album, another jazz-based track called Dil Raffu. While this one too is an entertaining listen thanks to Shilpa Rao behind the mic, for once I felt the composer didn’t quite manage to capture the feel of the narrative musically. The lyricist closes with a concluding piece called Aapke Jaisa Hi Hoon Main, where Mishra says how the protagonist is one of us.
It was over a year back that Amartya Rahut told me he was in the works of The Band Called Nine. Bobo da made me wait a long time for it, but the wait was quite worth it. A brilliantly innovative concept from Neelesh Mishra wonderfully executed by The Band Called Nine — be it Mishra’s Gulzar-esque lyrics, Bobo’s imaginative arrangement or Shilpa’s flawless singing. Here’s to many more from them!
Music Aloud Rating – 8.5/10
PS: I do hope the band members are considering putting up songwise credits on the website, coz as it happens I had great trouble even getting the track listing in the correct order, let alone the artist credits. Manoramic downloads are sans any track details.
PPS: This album has to be listened to in its entirety, hence no point recommending specific tracks. Go buy the album and listen to ALL tracks, it really is a must-not-miss.