Sony Music India, 1997

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


The dominance of Bollywood on the landscape of Indian popular music is undoubtable and will forever be strong as long as the there is pulse beating in its people. But the rock music scene in this country is no laughing matter either; it even has its own edition of Rolling Stone magazine. Although the Indian rock music scene has reached a certain level of maturity and vibrancy, with a diverse range of acts making quality music, the scene is still nonexistent outside of the country. And this was more true than anytime else in 1997, when a little known band by the name of Colourblind hit the scene with their one and only album.

For Indian rock music scene in 1997, which was nearly not as mature and popular as it is today, Colourblind sounded as if it were a seasoned band from the US or the UK. For the Indian rock music standards, Colourblind was way ahead of its time (and still is); and for the rest of the rock music consuming populace outside of India, this is simply a fantastic rock album. Founded by Ram Sampath (on vocals, synths, and drum programming) and Siddharth Achrekar (on guitars), Colourblind’s music was a stylish and complex mixture of grunge, prog rock, and electronica in an era where most Indian rock bands stuck to one style of music only (mainly hair metal) and didn’t really put out good professional-sounding albums. Considering the rock music scene of that time, Colourblind’s vision is commendable to say the least. But having the vision is one thing, and executing it to get the desired result is another; and execute, this band did.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The production quality on Colourblind is first-class and it is quite unbelievable that this was a DIY project by a band that just happed to pop out of nowhere. This is complimented by great musicianship by Sampath and Achrekar. In this tight package of nine songs, these guys achieve a lot: the depth and breadth of Colourblind isn’t something that can be found on many albums. Tracks like “Colourblind,” “Firebreath,” “Bang A Drum,” and “Blast” have a mishmash of grunge and hard-driving The Prodigy-esque dance-punk vibe, which is a unique sub-genre/sound on its own. In contrast, “Hu Will I Be?” has a more funk appeal with its perky bass-lines. “Souls On Parade,” “Legit Freak,” “Falling From The Sky,” and “Fragile” are the more melodic and deeper prog-rock cuts that show how masterful this duo is with the synthesizers, guitars, and production skills.

Colourblind was a complete package. From their music to the abstract album artwork and their slick music videos, to the swanky band image, everything about this band was professional in a scene where this level of sophistication was unheard of. Unfortunately, this band vanished as quickly as they appeared and they have only this one album to their name. Even after the album (which was available on cassette for the most part) is well out of print, this band has left a legacy behind it and is still talked of in Indian rock music scene as one of the best – if not the greatest – rock band to come out of this country. It is a pity that Colourblind isn’t available commercially anywhere (even in cassette form) or that there is any sort of band website or social media site by its members, as Sampath and Achrekar have both moved on to other careers. Luckily, there are at least a handful of blogs (the best one mentioned here and supposedly validated by Achrekar and featuring videos, full streams of the entire album, and also full album download) that are giving a taste of India’s greatest rock band to the rest of the world and keeping the flame alive.

Rating: A

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