The formerly Cochin, now Bengaluru-based quartet Black Letters have made a few sharp lefts over the years. Their early material, consisting of uptempo tunes such as ‘You Say’ on the album Shapes on the Wall carried a youthful exuberance replete with twangy guitars and optimism. The next EP Petrichor added more ambience and space and slowed the tempo down for some introspection.
Vocalist Sharath Narayan, through his alter ego Cosmic Attic went on to explore sounds and rhythms slightly out of left-field. This would come to signify a greater shift in sound and ethos for Black Letters, with the one-off single ‘Falter’.
With ’Some Do, Some Don’t’, the lead single off the upcoming Still As You, the left is sharper. A plucky 5/4 groove from drummer Akash Chacko starts things off accompanied by a sombre synth, later joined by a fuzzed-up synth bass and Sharath’s vocoded voice. A twinkly guitar interlude from Sarang Menon is perhaps the only nod to the band’s alt-rock roots, the song’s electronic sprinklings being the real calling card.
As the song ends, an anticipatory feeling builds, as we have just heard a band that is unafraid of risks or veering into the unknown to get their message across.
Still As You drops November 2019. ‘Some Do, Some Don’t’ is now available for streaming.
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