Iyobinte Pusthakam – Music Review (Malayalam Movie Soundtrack)

iyobinte-pusthakam posterThe yesteryear style record crackle and the staccatoed accordion phrases that open Maane are the closest to a period sound in Iyobinte Pusthakam’s soundtrack (not accounting for the BGM pieces), composers Neha S. Nair and Yakzan Pereira (apparently deliberately) going for a contemporary feel otherwise. And that contemporary sound manifests mostly in the form of folk-based fusion, something the composers have dabbled in as part of their multiple initiatives in the past. In Maane too the core tune is very Malayali folk, one that sits neatly within a brilliant guitar-led arrangement (Sunil Silvester and Yakzan, and a superb bass line from Panagiottis Andreou) with some nice additional touches like Suhail Yusuf Khan’s sarangi. Behind the mic, Anil Ram (vocalist of Asima, the world music ensemble of which Yakzan is keyboardist and arranger) and Neha take care of the folk tune in style. Theeyaattam takes a more frenetic and a much more world music-oriented form. The folk base is still there, this time coming in the raw power-packed voice of Amala C (with a cameo support by Neha in between). To this the composers add an assortment of exotic sounds, highlighted by Tao Issaro’s tribal percussion (awesome guitars yet again) and Walead Ben Selim’s Arabic rap. The soundtrack closes with Raave, the entry for Amal Neerad’s trademark romantic-song-by-sprawling-seaside-landscape sequence. Also my favourite song of the soundtrack; haven’t been able to get the tune out of my head! The arrangement is top notch yet again – violins by Danny, Herald and Jose, flute by Vishnu Vijay all brought together in an addictive melange. And what singing by Haricharan and Neha! Total winner, this.

(An update to the original review since six background theme pieces have hence been released)

The soundtrack also features six short background pieces, theme to the six central characters. Longest of the pieces is Aloshy’s theme; a sombre, ambient composition that rides on a soulful combination of violins and keys, with a little humming cameo from Neha in the latter half. Iyob’s Theme too continues on that melancholic mood, and is again dominated by the strings section, but too short to leave an impact. Should work better with the visuals. Vinaayak Sasikumar writes the lyrics for the remaining four songs. Martha’s Theme starts off beautifully with Neha crooning the Tamil lines, but again gets over too soon leaving you with an incomplete feeling. Angoor Ravuther’s Theme too has Tamil wordings, but here Neha’s singing sort of becomes the background while the retro reggae-ish arrangement takes the front seat. And they have done it so well that it works despite the length which is again just over a minute. And finally my favourites among the BGM pieces. Chemban’s Theme is understandably heavy on folk and hence percussion, but also some fab guitar, and Mathai Sastham and Walead Ben Selim do the vocals. In Rahel’s Theme Neha and Yakzan go for the retro jazz flavour, and pull it off in style with a brilliant brass section and all the other bells and whistles. In another fine vocal casting choice, they get Usha Uthup for this one, and she nails it as expected.

Iyobinte Pusthakam. Just one grouse about this classy debut from Neha Nair and Yakzan Gary Pereira (I am discounting 5 Sundarikal since they didn’t have the full soundtrack there) – why so short?! The shortness grouse has been alleviated to an extent by the background tracks, so I will just end this by calling it a spectacular debut from Neha Nair and Yakzan Gary Pereira!

Music Aloud Rating: 8.5/10

Top Recos: All of them!

Additional credits

Raave – Bass guitar: Ben Sam Jones        Cajon: Tao Issaro

Songs mixed by Vivek Thomas and mastered by Eduardo Apolonia

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