Review By : Saqib Bhatti – (PakMusic Editorial)
So it finally arrives. The second outing for the ever changing and multi directional band CALL. As has become the custom for the modern day Pakistani music industry (if we can still call it an industry) this album has had much hullabaloo for quite some time now without actually surfacing. Associated with the hype, has been the debate as to what direction CALL’s music will be taking. The rockers amongst us have been holding their breaths hoping and praying after CALL’s latest efforts having gone down distastefully. So lets take a look in detail as to what CALL has served up its customers and overall have they pulled out another landmark record, as is expected, or is the hype just that and nothing more.
The title track and what a cracking number it is! We are greeted with a jhoomar type of drum beat based on a folk rhythm. This played on a western drum kit immediately grabs our attention. Doosh doosh doosh bang bang! With this comes the eering in of the guitar, which seems to symbolize a new dawn rising in the history of Pakistani rock.
Fret sliding along both bass and lead guitars blasts out the power and intensity of DHOOM and that sends us to hear the title of the track being pumped out by the instruments themselves. The reverting back to the hard hitting and brawny work within their guitar playing and lyrics is evident for all to see from the outset and CALL seem to have consciously shown they have not gone completely soft to the core. This track is a treat for all the Jilawatan groupies who no longer found Call emulating the hard rock sound with which they initially burst onto the scene. Such a song could only be belted out and sound as immense as it does with the hulk like voice of Junaid. He is in top form within this song and its apparent how much he has matured and worked on his vocal skills. Not only is his gravel like tone ever present, but also there seems to be a further added texture and the introduction of more control into his repertoire. There must be a mention for Kenny from Aakash fame who has established himself as one of the more accomplished drummers in Pakistan and his precise skin bashing within this opener is astonishing with a variation within the beat in nearly every bar of the song. With it being an unconventional type of song, on first listen one may feel short changed and sense the song never really gets going. But on multiple listens the genius of what has been created becomes more apparent. Once the powerful foundation of guitar work and beat is established, the rest of the song sounds like a whole lot of fun and improvisation. I guarantee that you too will enjoy the ride!
The opener sets the tone for the immaculate production throughout the album and it saddens this reviewer how due to piracy and under quality Mp3s, the songs are rarely heard how the artist intended them to sound. The multiple layered tracks and attention to detail is baffling and this has always been a trademark of Xth harmonic studios from the days of Shayad and other such tracks.
Mein Aisa Hi Hoon:
Is this what the fans wanted then? With it being the album launch video, a lot depends on this track. Sure its Rock, there’s no doubt about that. But punk rock? Are Call trying to dabble into every pie rather than concentrating on a single genre. Experimentation isn’t a bad thing. Look at all the great bands of the past and it’s what has evolved them and helped gain them the status they have today. Does this track work however? Well the chord sequence has quite a romantic feel to it, and in essence this is a love song. However it would not be considered one in the same vain as say Dharkay Jiye for example as it is delivered in a different manner with the punk rock packaging. It must be said though that they have done a fine job at making a solid punk rock track and just like tracks such as Ho Jaane De, if people are willing to see the band in a different shade every other minute then it shall be greeted with open arms. From a technical point of view, the drumming by Fahad Khan is out of this world and his crisp and tight drumming really add zest to some nifty guitar work. The lyrics are innocent and can be related to by most people who may have been in a similar situation some time in their lives. Along with the sweet proceedings however, there is ample opportunity for those head bangers amongst us to rock out!
Some tracks come along and take your breath away. They make a mark and etch themselves on ones brain and heart. This is one of those. Again we are taken on a completely different type of ride, this time a Celtic type of arrangement and musical theme, which is heavily influenced by the use of violins. But it is the poetry within this song that really catches ones attention. Lines such as ‘Miljaata hai, phir Khuda bhi, iss zameen par hi dhoondlo’ are outstanding and should evoke raw emotions as well as thought processing responses. It is no longer about hatred and introspection. The message is about hope and how we can shape things by our own actions. Such beautiful substance sent across in the accompaniment of marvelous guitar work and orchestra. Directors are lining up to make the video of this one!
Ho Jaane De Building on the commercial success of Laree Chootee, this song has put the band in the catergory of superstars and expelled the tag of ‘angry Lahore college boys from next door’. The melody is fun and hip yet it still manages somehow to give you the signature CALL feeling. We are witness to quite a swing in production as well and showcases well, the variation in production coming out of Xth Harmonic studio with sequenced drums and synthesized orchestra. Although pop in nature, the song has been performed live at recent concerts and has really packed a Rock based punch sending crowds into a frenzy. Probably will not get the critical acclaim that other numbers on the album might, but this is a solid number, which will only help increase the ever growing fan base of the band.
Dharkay Jiya We witness here how personal this album and the song writing within it is to the band. Simplicity is divine and it is what the band has shown perfectly within this song. If asked a few years back could CALL pull off such a number, people would have been skeptical. Critics still remain. However if the track is taken for what it is, then one can appreciate that this is simply the purest and most heartfelt songs to come out in Pakistan in recent months. The mellow introduction of a heart beat like beat and again a reversion to acoustic strings; this is a number for all the romantics out there. Xulfi compliments the mood of the track with his soulful voice perfectly and again there is definitely a personal touch within the song. Although a great number, it probably does not have a place within the album having already been used in Bollywood and really being out of synch with what else is on offer.
Humse Hai Yeh Zamaana
A further patriotic song, this number seems to blend the softer side of Call with some power packed guitar riffs. Again delivering words of hope for the nation, it is specifically targeted towards the cricket fans of the nation. Having been around for quite some time now, it sounds a bit stale but non the less with the new live drumming not present in the video version, this track is a must for the upcoming world cup and cricket enthusiasts.
Kyun So who thought rock was dead? The X factor is back with absolutely lethal execution and showing CALL’s inner soul of rock still remains. Acoustic strumming with a frenzy of cymbal bashing provides a manic start. But after that we are thrown into an assault of some fantastically produced guitar bashing to really set the sombre mood and prepare us for the rest of the track. We again familiarize ourselves with trademark Call in this number. Multi layered tracks of acoustic undertones complemented by distorted punch filled power chords weave themselves together. The music sets the listener into a contemplative mood, which I guess, is appropriate given the title of the track and Junaid is once again at his vocal peak. Such conviction within his singing really makes the listeners want to ask themselves, Kyun? Kudos to Xulfi for getting in live strings for this track as well, with it really adding to the musical treat already on offer. The best of the track though has to be the mighty solo from the strings of Xulfi something that may have been missed sorely within the rest of the album. We have not had such treats from this axe man since the days of Rahguzar, Aghosh, Fitrat and Wujud. But this seems to surpass those previous efforts simply because Xulfi is now a more accomplished guitarist and producer.
The song climaxes to something that is reminiscent to a Hollywood action flick, with the orchestra, although warranted, seeming to be flooded out by the intensity of the guitars. Such a song, I am sure fans will accept with open arms but there aren’t really enough moments like this within the album to whet the appetite’s of those fans who have craved such material for almost 5 years now! However they should be content with the fact that this is still part of CALL’s repertoire.
Abhi Dair Hai
We are thrown back to the times of acoustic bliss here. Written in the mold of previous efforts like Bickar Ke Bhi, this song seems to stand out due to its personal touch, which is apparent in the lyrical content and the way Junaid has delivered the vocals. The band have expressed for quite sometime now that the songs in this album have been accumulated over many years, some even before Jilawatan was released and this song definitely seems to be one of them. There is a virginity and pureness within the whole song that draws us in and tries to show us through the writer’s eyes what feelings were expressed at that time in their lives. Xulfi again has delivered with his guitar work, this time producing some pristine playing on the acoustic guitar. Although not regarded as one of the best guitarists in Pakistan and unconventional in the way he operates, he has played sensationally within this song and there is some real warmth in the sound from a production point of view. In the second verse the song is intensified and we are treated by the introduction of live orchestra again in the form of cello and violin, really adding to the feel and the emotion of some already heartfelt lyrics. The band is very proud of the middle parts within each of the songs on the album. They seem to define each track and show off the production skills as well as the higher levels of musicianship the band have attained. They range from violin solos, a bridge from Xulfi’s voice or, as in this case, a wonderful concoction of violin, guitar work and Junaid crooning out the words “Dekhtay ho kyun tum? Sochtay ho kyun tum? Kuch na keh kar bhi, Sab kuch keh jaatay ho tum.” Heavenly indeed.
Teri Haar Hum:
A thunderous drum roll and we are off on this rollercoaster of a track. Here we are shown that the band’s soul is still rock ‘n’ roll and are amongst the best when it comes to power chord bashing and energetic licks. What will strike you about this track in particular are the angst-ridden lyrics and who better in Pakistan to get them across other than Junaid. There seems to be a real hidden passion and emotion underlying this track as if the band is trying to personally prove a point. A mention must also be made to Farhad Humayun who has carried out some extravagant drumming throughout only adding to the overall rage and energy. We are even greeted with an electronica style bridge within the song but I personally feel a signature Xulfi solo would have been a nice addition.
Too much has already been said about this track to go into too much detail. Some people like it, other hate it. Those who hate it is mostly because it has the tag of Call selling out to the demands of Bollywood, Xulfi ousting Junaid as the lead singer and the band’s sound going all soft. For me, when I ask people, have you heard of CALL, 99% of the time the response is, “Laree Chootee?” Enough said.
Call seems to have a knack of evoking great passion within their patriotic songs and Aasmaan is a sure winner yet again. Not many people know but they were selected by the PAF personally to produce this song and the album version has been redone with live drumming and has been remastered. The guitar work again is exceptional and Junaid really shows his maturity within this track especially during the delivery of the verses. It’s tracks like these that I urge all fans to upgrade their speakers and buy original copies of the songs, as there is such intricate detail within the layers. Its also a pretty tech savvy number with a vast array of guitar tones and sounds on display and really adds to the mechanical theme of the air force.
So all in all, a real mix bag is on offer here. Ranging from fun and frolics one moment to melancholy and introspection another. Some people will hate this concept feeling that CALL have not stayed true to their original sound from the first album and instead dabbled in all sorts of genres to increase their fan following. True say, this will definitely increase that cohort, but how is that a bad thing? The album is an accumulation of experiences throughout their lives, and just like anyone else, not only have they written about a single emotion, but expressed within their album whatever emotions have been felt whether it by hate or love. And if they can successfully pull that off with the rock numbers sounding hard hitting and pumped, and the pop numbers edgy and melodious, then I for one am not going to complain. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
Rating : ***** 5 stars
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