Albatross has, over the years, given us songs that are melodic classics, but the grit in Ma Ra Malai will catch many by surprise. As guitarist Sunny Manandhar says, “It’s back to our roots!” Ma Ra Malai is an album filled to the brim with unforgettable tracks that could all be justified as singles. It’s apparent that the band has slaved and toiled to get everything right, and the final product is simply excellent.
Ma Ra Malai
The catchy intro to ‘Ma Ra Malai’ is so gripping, it’s like being harpooned into the centre of a hypnotic web. “Heavy like a mother@#$!” would be the best phrase to describe how it begins, and before you know it, the chorus will have you singing along. The little twist in the song happens during the solo, with sounds and shouts from a distant argument. The riff and vocals make the title track nothing short of anthemic. A live fan-favorite for sure.
Gari Khana Deu I
The social overtones are pretty clear here. The palpable angst and the sheer vitriol when Shirish Dali sings ‘Je sukai gar…’ brings about a mental image of the rebellion and frustration that the country went through not too long ago. The drums and the rhythm just drive on like a runaway train. This one is all power, power, power.
We often attach ourselves to pieces of music that become big parts of our lives. At one point, it was ‘Like Suicide’ by Soundgarden, and ‘Bhool’ by Albatross seems to be along those lines. The lyrics are easy and honest, and when they say “Bhool bhayecha yo kasto, na sodha malai”, many would savor it as their personal soundtrack. This track takes you on a ride, reminds you of glorious times, and attaches itself to your experience. I’m sure many others will feel the same way.
Monster riffs and soaring vocals is what ‘Adhar’ is all about. A hauntingly poignant section slows the mood down while Avaya Bajracharya lays down some serious chops on the bass. The song comes out of the placid little trance like a ball of fire, and at the end of it all, arrives a guitar solo that is reminiscent of something classic.
Manav Nai Danav
If the devil ever decides to grace you with his presence, do remember, the song playing in the background will be ‘Manav Nai Danav’. It’s catchy, it’s big and, quite simply, it’s beastly. While the mood of the song isn’t a happy one, you can’t help but bust out an evil smile. Mark my words, a lot of bands will be covering ‘Manav Nai Danav’ at college/school fests. This one is like a living, breathing dragon. Kudos to Kismet Shrestha for the drumwork, and Sunny Manandhar for that solo.
Afnai Sansar Ma Kina:
Kismet is at it again, laying down a groovy beat on the drums with the vocals floating over it beautifully. Tongue-in-cheek with a sweet tinge to it, the track is captured excellently by Dali’s vocals. The little orchestra in the background gives it a grand feel and makes ‘Afnai Sansar Ma Kina’ really memorable.
Gari Khana Deu II
And ‘Gari Khana’ returns with that much more venom. With chugging riffs and pacing beats, the finish is explosive. There is a drive to the whole song that takes you by the scruff of your neck, and makes you pay attention. It’s a chronicle of a great set of sounds with lyrics that make it stand apart, giving it depth.
Sagar starts lucid and tranquil, with the sound of waves caressing you ears. Then, the guitar comes in, creating a different sort of tranquility. As the song moves on, it morphs into a guitar solo that slowly turns menacing with the cackling laughter in the background. That solo keeps going on and on, and is the perfect end to the album. !