Big Big Joke , Tough on Tobacco’s second studio album, starts with Do what you gotta do which I believe is a rock song with a reggae soul. The spirit of reggae is present in some way or other in most of the songs in this album; sometimes it is musical and sometimes it is lyrical. The next song Yahweh is written as a prayer. The song is built around a very anthem-like guitar hook. This is my favorite song of the album – it can take you to a zone with its lovely loopy bass line and the constant tempo. Follow Your Dreams is understandably about self-belief. The guitar tone used by the lead guitar (Niranjan Dhar/Gaurav Gupta?) is really cool. But the way Johan Pais’ bass and Jai Row Kavi’s drums interlocks in this song is what makes it a winner.
I don’t know if Mr. Coutto talks with the same accent as the one with which he sings, but it does lend character to each of these songs. The next song Nice is another preacher. This song slightly deviates from the mood set by the previous songs in the album. The curious rhythm and the intricate drum rolls give it a prog rock feel. In Ordinary it is Gaurav Gupta doing the singing; again the bass line of this song is what will make me listen to it again. Big Big Joke, the title song of the album, stands out for its irony and the way it is sung. The vocals don’t employ any theatrics here, instead it is the layering of voices that does the trick. Love Love Love is a brooding acoustic song which turns into a monstrous ballad. When I first listened to it, I fell for its feel with the suave Mr. Coutto pronouncing “Love” like having a bad Malayali accent. After a certain point the song gets louder and takes its ballad form and kills it for me. The last song of the album has a name which may sound like it was written by Marilyn Manson; it is called Blow Yourself Away. Heh. The starting bass riff has an electronica feel to it, that quality, which will make it sound good even if it loops a thousand times.
ToT’s sophomore effort has all the markings of a very balanced effort with the musicians giving each other their own space and choosing understatement over glaring ego trips.