It says something for the following a band has that its debut full length album is one of the most anticipated music releases of the year. Parvaaz is that kind of band. Years of touring and an EP later the quartet released ‘Baran’ (meaning rain) a few weeks back. Musically Parvaaz has repaid the faith fans have reposed in it with a set of songs that are touching, searing and soothing by turns.
That siren blast kickstarting the opening ‘Beparwah’ announces the arrival of a supremely gifted band.
Kashif Iqbal’s now-fierce-then-gentle guitaring, the mighty rhythm section of drummer Sachin Banandur and bassist Fidel D’Souza and the extraordinary voice of Khalid Ahmed make for truly compelling listening. One will find references to the band’s musical influences, most notably Pink Floyd (perhaps it’s just a few of us but some friends and I thought some Porcupine Tree as well), on a number of songs but to its credit Parvaaz pays its dues and moves on without lingering too long on fandom. It’s no surprise for a band that revels in jamming to find songs that are far from ‘radio-friendly’ durations. Although the ever-popular ‘Long Song’ is split into two here on the album, one doesn’t sense a break while listening. The haunting ‘Roz Roz’ which forms the first quarter of a 17+ minute epic segues smoothly into the multi-part title song ‘Baran’ which moves from psychedelic rock to a reggae interlude leading to a rousing finale that makes your hair stand on end – all this without any part ever sounding oddly at variance with the others. At the heart of Parvaaz’s music is a simplicity and honesty that runs through all their songs but perhaps is best captured by ‘Ab Ki Yeh Subah’. Shorn of cynicism, life can provide much by way of joy. The underlying spirituality (not religiousness, mind you) ‘earned’ the band’s music the unfortunate category cage of ‘Sufi rock’. I do not know whether the last two songs on ‘Baran’ are a deliberate attempt to break out of that or the boys just went ahead and did what they had to caring two hoots for silly genre-slotting. But ‘Fitnah’ and ‘Ziyankar’ – especially ‘Ziyankar’ – show the confidence of the band in traveling new paths. That dose of cool jazz – Seth Malloy’s sax solo at the end of ‘Fitnah’ extending itself as the intro to ‘Ziyankar’ is a very deft touch – adds a ton of allure to music that’s already entrancing. The only major flaw of the album is, in my opinion, the dullness of production. It’s the one thing that holds back the leap from a very good album to an exceptional one.
‘Baran’ is available on , at Amazon and on OKListen.
I’m afraid lossless digital formats are not yet available for purchase to the best of my knowledge. The CDs can be purchased from Parvaazmusic.com.
P.S.: In one of the tragedies that beset album names or covers, shortly after the release of ‘Baran’, which as I mentioned earlier means rain, Kashmir – the beautiful but already troubled home state of Khalid and Kashif – was devastated by unprecedented rainfall. Many of us have pitched in with relief efforts in different ways. We can only hope and pray that normality and peace return to that lost paradise.