Pune-based, eight-piece band Easy Wanderlings garnered attention after the release of their indie-pop, story-based debut album As Written in the Stars in 2017. They have since released the single ‘My Place To You’ in 2019 and held back nothing in spending the next three years working on their latest EP Caught in a Parade, which strays away from their usual influences.
The opener, ‘Enemy’, strolls in gently with an acoustic fuzz of warm, rhythmic lullabies. It starts off with a refreshing soul-funk melody, rich with bold, spine-like bass, soft percussion and orchestral hums. This riff’s first bar carries a varied time signature which repeats as it plays throughout the song, fostering an odd, attractive charm. Its infectious appeal was picked up by the sound team for the Deepika Padukone starrer Gehraiyaan.
A drastic shift in mood takes place on ‘Center of the Universe’ with Pratika’s familiar R&B vocal delivery, lyrically centring around the theme of posthumous glory. The verse’s minimal percussion blossoms into a multi-instrumental spacey arrangement in the chorus, furthering into a lush, flute solo sprinkled with vocal improvisations in the bridge and outro. Its upbeat and groovy nature uncovers a lot of contrast as it stitches up with ‘Mayflower’, which was released as a lead single in September. Shardul’s violin unquestionably steals the show in the chorus; paired with Nikhil’s melodic crooning and an overall bittersweet atmosphere turned overwhelming by the production, the listener really is swept away.
A sonic lustre of this capacity is better accentuated with an immediate downtempo, which is provided by the soulful piano instrumental on ‘Castles in the Air’. Backed by Pratika’s sultry vocal style and a dash of honest lyric (“Stop pretending, you’re ordinary, and you’re careless”), it makes for a warm afternoon’s hopeful contemplation of a listen.
It’s been a smooth-sailing journey until now; albeit impressively composed and well-produced, one can find themselves yearning for the fragile mood the opener track set forth. Shards of said undercurrent can be felt in ‘Mayflower’ halfway through the EP, which is a clever positioning if they were aiming to ration this effect. The ‘even-odd’ tracklist has always been a rumour, but Caught in a Parade might seem to follow it subliminally.
That is, until the final track ‘Makin’ My Move’ boasts generic funk/soul tones louder than one anticipates after such a subtle crusade. Dynamic synth arrangements, of the likes of Rhye and other pop-soul acts, outline its essence. Regardless of the sudden shift, the score parades a pleasant pop groove that’ll undeniably get the listeners swaying in their seats. Like a credit score, ‘Makin’ My Move’ ushers the EP out as a light, parodical breather to an emotionally intense venture.
Caught in a Parade is an album featuring some skilful instrumentation. It’s clear that the creators of this five-track EP are virtuosi enough to be able to move the audience in ways that they intended to. There are moments in the EP when the underlying emotion that ties it together, feels missing. While that can cause a break in the flow of the listening journey, the sentiment itself has precious value. For the most part, Caught in a Parade is a trouble-free, pleasant addition to Easy Wanderlings’ musical journal of cherished memories and conversations.
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