The second EP from this Leeds (England) trio – guitar, bass, voice - sees them building on the success of last year’s Across The River EP, with six pieces covering a broad range of styles, all threaded together by the very sinuous, sultry voice of Satnam Galsian.
It springs out of the traps with “Kaalay Rang,” a Punjabi folk song with a decidedly desert blues groove, featuring some excellent guitar work from John Hogg, playing nicely punchy filigree around the vocal. It’s a mix of styles that startles at first, but works in a surprisingly effective fashion, opening up an avenue that could well be ripe for further exploration.
Instead, it’s followed by “Baa-Ja-Ray,” another piece of traditional Punjabi folk, which gets an ‘80s indie makeover. Excellent Johnny Marr-style guitar and a yearning vocal melody give it a lost Smiths song air – no bad thing in itself, and certainly a swerve for Indian folk music.
“She Spoke With Her Eyes,” is a Bollywood song, sensuous and alluring, a slow glide that sets the song down a coolly seductive path that suits it well. But the real surprise here is a cover of the 1940s proto-hippie anthem “Nature Boy,” maybe best-known as a big hit for Nat King Cole. It’s a strange beast, with curious semitone shifts, yet in Kinaara’s hands it take wing, well-framed by Hogg’s neatly-picked guitar work and Simon Henry’s restrained drumming, which swings and subtly carries the tune.
They’re still a young band, experimenting, and slowly finding their voice. But they have something unique to offer, and in Galsian a star in the making, an heir to Sheila Chandra. This could well be a springboard to very adventurous things.
Find the ensemble online.