Category Archives: Tough on Tobacco

Engraved Invitation-LUCID RECESS-2010


My first clue was the fact that you had to “LIKE” the band on their Facebook page before you could download the songs. No integrity. Minus a million points. The album cover reminds me of Seether’s Karma and Effect for some reason. Minus ten points. Then I saw the self-description of the kind of music they play. “Metal/Alternative”. Alarm Bells. I also noticed that this album was recommended by those poseurs, Rolling Stone and RSJ Online.

Finally I came to the music. Oh my gawd, the music. First thing I noticed was that its not metal. Not an iota. It is not metal in this or any other universe. Power chord riffing, the occasional chugga-chugga does not metal make. Minus 100 points for misrepresentation. Then I heard the vocals. It sounds as if he is singing karaoke with the song playing on Youtube in the background. The guy tries the power metal range in the first song, realizes that he can’t do it and stops. Bad, bad. Minus another 100. Somewhere in the album he tries to do the metal shriek at the end of a line, doesnt make it. The whole album is bunch of generic mid-90’s alternative rock chords (think Candlebox, Love Battery, Bush, Stone Temple Pilots..no wait, STP had some good songs.) The guitar playing is competent and everything, but that doesn’t mean that this stands a chance of sounding right. Not a chance in hell. Minus another 1000 points. Oh, and they had the friggin audacity to call themselves METAL of all things? This standard, mundane post-grunge affair? Minus another 100. I could point out a million other things that I despise about this record, but wth, my point has been made.

But at least they had the good sense to give this away for free. Plus 10. Anybody keeping score?

-Baba T   

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The Happy Goat – TOUGH ON TOBACCO – 2009


Indian Rock/Independent music has grown a lot since, let’s say 2002. But not enough to truly appeal in a big way yet. As a result, it is in danger of becoming insular and incestuous, a bit like what most people conceive of the art world- old farts without much relevance to the outside world.

But then, that is not to say that this shrink-wrapped intermingling doesn’t yield good results. Yes, it produces utter crap on occasion (try Shaair and Func’s latest) – unnecessarily experimentative and counter-intuitive excercises in look-how-much-I-can-play/produce/layer. But there is also stuff like Tough on Tobacco, genuinely nice listenable music aimed at listeners. It’s composed of a couple of members of the legendary Zero, and then some. It’s a bitta rock, a bitta reggae and a bitta something else in a nice little package with humorous lyrics that aren’t contrived. I like this. Sample “Concert Piano”, about the singer’s inability and frustration to play the piano. This could have been a dangerously daft and silly attempt at humorous rock- a joke that no one laughs at, with only the incestuous lot liking it. Remember Navjot Singh Sidhu laughing his arse off in The Great Indian Laughter Challenge? It could’ve been something like that. But this works.Err.....sexy.

It’s a bitta rock, a bitta reggae, a bitta something else in a nice little package with humorous lyrics that aren’t contrived.

And the best part is that its backed up by some really catchy rhythms and hooks, like the opening bass and keyboard hook on “Consuella” or the guitar and bass doodles on “Already told you”, or the really very catchy guitar on “Don’t leave me behind”. These are real songs by mature musicians, having fun. Good shit. 

As far ‘good songs’ are concerned, I’m finding it hard to point out a bad song here. They’re all kind of light hearted and fun. But, if you were to poke me with a stick, I’d say “Wait till the Night’s Out”, “Tough on Tobacco”, “Forest of Doom”, and “Concert Piano” are my favourites. Check ‘em out.

Stumbling blocks are sometimes flawed mixing/production, especially with regard to vocal harmonies, which jangle and jar. The bass should’ve been heavier in the mix. This is- after all- reggae influenced. But all said and done, this is an encouraging sign that there is some good music floating about. It’s hardly Bob Marley, but Tough on Tobacco generally sounds right.

- El Bajista

More DESI ROCK reviews HERE.

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