When it comes to bands from India, I never know what to expect. They have such a rich and vibrant culture, so I usually think the music will incorporate those colors into the music with the sounds of their local music. This isn’t always the case, though. Coma Rossi is releasing their self-titled debut album on the 20th of December, and the album has proven to be quite unlike what I expected.
Like I said, the band hails from India, specifically Bangalore. The band consists of Tom Borah on vocals, Udayan Kashalikar on bass, Juby Thomas on keys, Gaurav Govilkar on guitars, and Anupam Panda on drums. My first impression is that these musicians are not only technically proficient, but also know how to emote with their respective instruments.
Coma Rossi offers an atmospheric, textured version of modern prog rock. The music evolves and matures more in eerie ambience than in technical passages, and the album’s finest moments involve evocative and almost elusive melodies, rather than rockin’ instrumentals. The album is truly a colorful, organic experience that is tinged with distortion and a leery look at darkness. So, in the end, I can hear the vibrancy of the Indian culture throughout this album, even if the specific folk music of their region is not present.
The performances here are all great, but I think the guitars and keys really make this album something special. Gaurav’s guitars are soulful and emotive as they are elevated and soaring. Juby’s keys create a beautiful tapestry of light and wonder that soaks the whole album with emotion and fervor. I would also mention that Tom’s vocals are pitch perfect with passion and grace. Udayan and Anupam offer bass and drums that provide a wonderful oomph to the delicate atmosphere.
I’m really impressed with several tracks on this album. Some of them have a meatier choruses, and they are really addictive. “Mirage” falls into this range, and is a great opener with lots of light and a catchy chorus. “Turn Back Time” is the single, and also revolves around a chorus. It has a great central melody and one vocal moment near the end that is particularly impressive.
Other tracks focus more on instrumentals or overall ambience. These tracks are where this album really shines. “Transmission” is a fantastic track, probably my favorite on the album. It is light and airy, with lots of vibrant space and plenty of heart. For some reason, the chorus reminds me of Filter’s “Cold (Anthem for the Damned)”, which adds a shot of nostalgia for me. “Jomolungma Is Far Away” is another wonderful track, this time instrumental. It feels celestial and otherworldly. “Dream” is a fleeting, ominous track. In some ways, it does remind me of Riverside’s Reality Dream trilogy here and there, and I think it is the inner struggle and beautifully realized atmosphere that causes this. It really is a haunting and transient experience. “Lost” ends the album on a high note with fiery instrumentals and feelings of despair.
Overall, Coma Rossi really have something wonderful to offer here. Their sound is transitory and elevated in a way that will lift your spirits, taking you to other places and other moods. There are certainly dark moments, but the album has a balance that I really appreciate. If you are looking for modern prog rock with more texture and ambience, this may just be the album for you.
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