• Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW

The Attempted Band

For When You Can't Find Your Artcell CD

Rayaan Ibtesham Chowdhury

I heard a few complaints about the production quality of the album but when I heard the first few seconds of “DCG”, the sound quality was the last thing on my mind. Oozing influences from classic rock's finest, The Attempted Band is probably the first group in Bangladesh to work with sounds from the British Blues Revival era and give it their own twist. Definitely something that can pique your interest. The production issues do eventually kick in though.

It is worth mentioning here that the band was formed in 1996. Yes, that's an 18 year wait for the first album, something the band itself has often made fun of. The album kicks off with “DCG”, which is a ballad about unrequited love. The song starts off with a very rootsy guitar intro and the backdrop is very similar to early '60s radio staples like Bad Company's “Can't Get Enough of Your Love”.  In fact, everything about this song seems to shout classic rock. The guitars and vocals are clearly influenced by the likes of Paul Rodgers and Eric Clapton.
“Love Song for Godzilla” is the first track on the album to feature female vocals with Jisha Sarwar. This track shifts focus to more pop-rock but the classic vibe is very much alive. Synths come into play here too and with Sarwar's simplistic singing style, it really does create a lush ambience.

The album returns to its blues rock sound with “Only a Bengali Can”, where some of Farooque Bhai's growls enter.  It ties in really well with the album's fifth track, “I Might Be Ugly But I'm Not stupid”, which with its boogie-meets-12-bar-blues intro could easily sneak into a ZZ Top album. Props to Imran Aziz for playing what was probably the finest blues guitar solo ever recorded by a Bangladeshi guitarist. His solo is punctuated by shouts of “Maiyaa” and “Heavy Metal” by the other members, which can make you crack up. The song then bursts into a bass solo and then a drum solo. Did the band pull out all the stops? Yes but in a very good way. In between these two tracks, we have the not so bluesy “Alyshia”, which is more of psychedelic pop venture, one of the album's highlights.

“Jibone Kichu Pabo Na Re” is a rendition of an Azam Khan classic with an interesting reckless '60s rock vibe. The album then descends into two mostly instrumental tracks: “Finally” and “Be Mine”. The former is the better of the two and does a very good job of creating an ambient atmosphere that will leave you feeling nostalgic, sad or both. The latter seems to end abruptly, which can leave a bitter aftertaste. “Finally” is major move away from the sound the band has established so far but it's a standout on its own.

“So Much” and “My New Me” have Jisha Sarwar leading again. And like each time she has sung on the earlier tracks, the songs leave the bluesy influences and go for a pop-rock sound. These aren't stand-outs but they're okay. A little fact: “My New Me” was later redone as “Amar Notun Ami” by The Watson Brothers”. The final song -- “The Horizonal Neck” -- is the original version of a song that would later be better known as “Akash” when recorded by the Watson Brothers.

As drummer Arafat Kazi told us, all the songs were recorded with single takes to capture a live vibe. And that did work to an extent but it also brought out the human errors that are bound to follow. There are a few mistakes here and there and combined with aforementioned production quality (notice the buzz in the backdrop of track 5), it might put you off at times. But if you're looking beyond that, this is one of the most well-intentioned albums a Bangladeshi band has made. We can only hope there's more to follow from this band. Just with better production next time.

The album can be legally downloaded for free at http://theattemptedband.com

Published: 12:00 am Thursday, August 21, 2014

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