Going Nowhere

Lounge Piranha

Mongrel Records, 2008


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


India's vibrant domestic music scene, which subsumes the traditional -- Hindustani and Carnatic -- and the modern -- Bollywood-pop and its myriads of incarnations -- is for the most part estranged to rock music .  This is true even with the existence of a long-standing local rock music scene, which hasn’t grown beyond a small cult following. From the depths of a rock music industry that is practically nonexistent in comparison to some of India’s distant Western neighbors comes a fledgling indie act by the name of Lounge Piranha.

The story of Lounge Piranha could be that of any other indie band from, let’s say New York. But unlike the band from my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 New York, this band from India is a part of a subculture that’s still in its infancy. There are no record producers to scout, no million dollar contracts to be snagged, no pre-defined molds to try to fit into. In all essence, Lounge Piranha -- or for that matter any other rock band from India -- is naïve and unsophisticated compared to a similar band hailing from New York. But this very lack of sophistry is Lounge Piranha’s strong suit.

The music of this band (which hails from the city of Bangalore) has the charm of old-school alternative music, from the time when such music was still restricted to the domain of college misfits spending too much time in obscure record stores (which did exist once upon a time).  It's far removed from what alternative music has become today, where the the indie culture: has become a mass-produced way of life for iPod-toting urban hipsters. Lounge Piranha’s longing, winsome songs shaped by simple guitar melodies have the earnestness of yesteryears’ college bands like The Replacements and The Lemonheads.

These guys pull out tricks that a similar band in the US or UK would dare not attempt for fear of sounding too guileless and passé, and this lack of inhibition and pretension forms the core some of the best cuts on the record. “Snakes And Lotuses” and “Ebb” have an awkward goofiness that’s shamelessly old-school and utterly delightful. The title track, “Going Nowhere” and “Eclat” are wistfully emotional by not being a bit showy or artsy.

The band does go a bit astray with “Gun Song” and “Teenage Curse” when they try to get serious and intense. Here they find themselves robbed of their flippancy and sounding a bit tired even though they make a valiant attempt at pushing their style.

Like the industry they belong to, Lounge Piranha too is still maturing. But in this period of nascence come great glimmers of promise from a band that’s not yet jaded.

Rating: B

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© 2009 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Mongrel Records, and is used for informational purposes only.