Singer Shaan, music composer Gourov Dasgupta and music producer Roshan Balu have joined hands to form a band called Superbia. The band has already composed jingles and songs for films, which are yet to be released. Satrangi is their first non-film album where they have roped in Gwen Athaide as the female vocalist. Manthan, who has worked with Gourov on films like ‘Chalo Dilli’ and ‘Enemmy’ writes the lyrics. Satrangi is a very interesting album where the band has weaved original compositions into classic film songs from a bygone era.
“Satrangi”, the title track, is a mixture of an original tune and “Humein Tumse Pyaar Kitna” [Film: Kudrat, Music: R.D Burman, Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri]. The song is dominated by a pleasant electro pop sound with some neat electric guitar riffs played intermittently. The original and the old tune merge seamlessly. Gwen Athaide’s voice has a cool vibe to it which works well for the track. Shaan’s voice is heard briefly towards the end of the song.
The band seek inspiration from another R.D Burman song “Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi” [Film: Aandhi, Music: R.D Burman, Lyrics: Gulzar] to compose “Tanha”. The composers have incorporated too many things into the song, resulting in an ‘overcooked’ track. A portion sung by Shaan, in the second interlude (2:17-3:08) sounds like a dated 90s song and does not work at all.
The band turns “Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai” [Film: Mera Naam Joker, Music: Shankar-Jaikishan, Lyrics: Shailendra] into a dark number of the same name. While the music by the band is okay, Manthan does a god job by writing some new lines that complement Shailendra’s lyrics very well. The song with dark, edgy and electronic sound would fit in the newly coined ‘Electro Goth’ genre.
The electronic music has been arranged well in “Jee Le Zara”, which pays a tribute to “Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana” [Film: Andaz, Music: Shankar-Jaikishan, Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri). With Gwen’s sensuality oozing voice, Manthan’s poetic verses and groovy electronic beats, this one comes across as a good package.
The band experiments a bit by introducing some dubstep beats into “Babuji”. Although the new tune conceived by the band does not match up to the original, it gels with the hit song “Babuji Dheere Chalna” [Film: Aar Paar, Music: O.P Nayyar, Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri]. Gourov’s guitar playing is one of the highlights of the song. The arrangements deliver the requisite punch.
Unlike the other songs on the album, a lot of instruments can be heard in “Bekarar”, which has been derived from “Bekarar Karke Yun Na” [Film: Bees Saal Baad, Music: Hemant Kunar, Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni]. The song has a jazz flavor to it and the band seem to have put it some effort in getting the right orchestral arrangements for the song.
After hearing the first six songs in the album, “Dil Ke Chain” derived from “O Mere Dil Ke Chain” [Film: Mere Jeevan Saathi, Music: R.D Burman, Lyrics: Anand Bakshi] comes across as a predictable number. Shaan tries to bring in some novelty with his portion. Gwen mispronounces a couple of words and one has got really tired of her heavily accented singing by now.
Satrangi is a decent effort by the newly formed band. They could have done a lot with the concept of merging new compositions with old songs. Even if they wanted to stick to one genre, they could have experimented a bit within that realm. The entire album is dominated by an electro pop/rock sound with little variation. Though Gwen Athaide’s anglicized accent is not as endearing as, say that of Aditi Singh Sharma’s or Ash King’s, she has an interesting vocal texture that could work for a couple of songs. She should modulate her voice according to the mood and feel of the song. Manthan is an underrated lyricist and one hopes to see him write more for films and non-film albums. There is now an expectation to see the band experiment a little with their compositions and come up with memorable music in the near future.