A couple of months ago, I caught alternative band Blakc performing at Mumbai’s Blue Frog – home ground for them. In a review of the gig for NME India the next day, I said that particular gig was one of the best I had seen the band at. Even though the band doesn’t interact too much with their audience, their energy filled the performance space. I also said that the then-upcoming album could probably be the one that propelled Blakc into the big league.
That album – Motheredland – is out now, and having given it a few spins, I think it’s safe to say that we will have to wait for the next album to be the big one, the one that matters. So is Motheredland a bad album? No. Far from it. It’s actually got some good songs. “Blacklisted” has a nice groovy hook. “Paper Doll” is a slamming track. The ballad-y “Peddler of Rainbows” has beautiful sonic textures. Blakc’s musicianship is undoubtedly great as is evident on every track. And the production, courtesy Shantanu Hudlikar and Keshav Dhar, on the album itself is stellar.
What is missing though is the energy that this band exudes in their live concerts. Motheredland fails to grab you by the scuff of your neck and shake you up – the way a typical Blakc live performance does. And that, to me, is the biggest failing of this record. It sounds a bit too sanitized and consequently falls short of capturing the band’s real strength. So much so, that more often than not through the playing time of 57+ minutes, it tends to an album that is playing in the background. Which is really a shame, because there are some gems out there – “The Dreamcast” (an old Blakc live staple) and “Untitled” (the first video single off Motheredland) included.