Debut efforts are quick to be noticed on the independent music scene, mostly by virtue of being, well, debut efforts. The Indian independent music landscape is always abuzz with new artists and their offerings, and listeners are curious. That being said, it isn’t all that common for a debut to stand on its own two feet just by virtue of its sound. And, Bengaluru-based synthpop duo, Us and I, comprised by Bidisha Kesh and Gaurav Govilkar, seem to have achieved just that with their debut EP Loveless.
This four-track EP is a sonic catalogue of textured, electro and synth pop tracks that explore some of the deepest and most complex corners of love—falling in and out of it. The lead single, ‘Fragile’, which also kicks things off on this project, is a moody and evocative track that details a look back at the past.
On the theme of ‘Fragile’, the duo writes, “While searching for a notebook one afternoon, you suddenly chanced upon that piece of memory you once shared with the love of your life. The erstwhile bittersweet memory which you had comfortably kept away all these years rushed back like a huge surf wave. Curled in a world of fragility, you hold on to it, reliving what is gone.” The reflective quality of this one is emphasised by Bidisha’s vocals—a melancholic tone that adds a unique layer to the largely electro-pop arrangement.
The track ‘Butterflies’ arrives next. It is a sparkly, Beach House inspired tune; which makes sense as the duo notes Beach House, Chromatics, Air, and M83 as notable references for their sound. Steady in its pace, this one leaves you in a comfortable place, and you’ll catch your foot tapping and yourself grooving.
What ‘Butterflies’ offers in comfort, the third track, ‘Phases’ takes away with disruptive and captivating production. Armed with a powerful introductory hook, this track hurls you into the EP’s sonic peak. Featuring, what is arguably, the grooviest hook, ‘Phases’ also offers a look at Bidisha’s range as a vocalist.
Loveless comes to a close with the final track, ‘First Love’. This one plays with the push and pull of a haunting vocal arrangement and near-cinematic arrangement—the perfect end to a pleasant surprise.
Of their coming together, Bidisha and Gaurav, admit that they come from different backgrounds but share “surprisingly similar musical sensibilities”. They go on to hit the nail on the head with the description of their music, “deeply personal lyrics wrapped with a melancholia leaking from their synthesizers”.
Loveless is a valiant debut effort—intentional song-writing enveloped in undeniably groovy, textured pop music. Its effects can be far ranging, but regardless, this work of art is easy to take notice of.