DESI ROCK / Junkyard Groove

11:11 [Bootleg] – JUNKYARD GROOVE – 2009


Right, let’s see what JYG have on offer these days. The curiously (and hence attractively) named 11:11 album by Junkyard Groove has a lovely cover going for it. The car nerd in me keeps wondering, “Hmm…What car could that be? An old Morris perhaps?” Anyway, after my last listen to their Nicer in a Minute 5 song set, I was eager to know how JYG has evolved.

They have a penchant for having great pictures taken. This one is particularly good.

They have a penchant for having great pictures taken. This one is particularly good.

Things clarify nicely with the lovely opener called err… ‘Open’, which has rich layers of vocals, drums, organ, Mellotron (I think), guitars and ear-filling bass. And what’s this?! Hindi lyrics? Good going, guys! The most fundamental thing that is immediately apparent is that the production is much better. Much, much better.  The band creates a wall of sound using that big voice of Ameeth Thomas, full sounding bass, jangling guitars and all sorts of cymbals. ‘Rock n Roll’ has one of the most amazing openings I’ve ever heard (yay to bassist Craig Maxworth!). This should have been the first song after ‘Open’.

I think I’m sort of close to characterising the sound of JYG to my ears on this album. Imagine the love child of the non-funk based songs of the Chilli Peppers with the feel-good sounds of something like Third Eye Blind, and you’re getting close. The good things about this band are the honesty and maturity in the music and lyrics, good production values, and the fact that they always work as a band and not three guys getting together for a wank-fest.

Unfortunately, some of my criticisms from the earlier set remain. The original 5 song EP wasn’t sufficient for me to realise this, but the album needs to be paced better. There are way too many mid to uptempo songs. This is the sort of band that is full of talent to make some incredible slow ballads. Where are they, boys? Something like ‘Road Trippin’ (by the Peppers) with a twist, maybe.

Ladiess and gentelmens!! Welcome to Jengyad Groov!!!

Ladiess and gentelmens!! Welcome to Jengyad Groov!!!

Another slight problem is that the band needs certain features in its music which instantly distinguish them. Think four part harmonies for the Beatles, Indian rythms/scales for Indian Ocean and Flea’s basslines for RHCP and you’ll know what I’m talking about. They are probably one of the most distinctive bands in India today primarily because an acoustic/electric guitar dichotomy and big voices just aren’t there. But, if JYG has to go beyond India and become truly big (which I suspect they have the talent to do), a major distinguishing feature or two like I mentioned above will help enormously.

Potential character adding devices are sadly not used when needed. Like the Indian tinged vocal and guitars in the beginning and middle of ‘Hold’ and the lovely Carnatic (?) violin in the beginning of ‘Been so long’. Reprisals of these melodic themes would have made those songs- nice as they were- infinitely more appealing. It will have the twin advantages of adding character to the music and distinguishing JYG as an Indian band.

If these guys were in the US, they would have been huge…..it’s a commentary on how little the rock music scene in India is developed in proportion with the talent on offer. THE AUDIENCE NEEDS TO WAKE UP AND BLOODY SUPPORT GOOD MUSICIANS!!! WHERE ARE YOU PEOPLE!?

Anyway, since I know no other way to end this, ill just say that on the whole, this sounds right (on track).

-El Bajista

Support JUNKYARD GROOVE. More reviews HERE.

Support DESI ROCK! More of those reviews HERE.

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