If you could explore the entire globe by just listening to one EP, wouldn’t that be Ah-mazing!? I mean, think about it – this would take virtual reality to a whole other level. You would just sit back, place the earplugs into your ears, close your eyes, and be transported LITERALLY!
Well, this is possible. I experienced this very thing when I listened to “As Written in the Stars” by Easy Wanderings – a Soul Pop band from Pune, India who has toured the globe, performed in cafes and stadiums, and pride themselves in writing and producing music that touches every part of your being.
The eight track EP is so pleasing and euphoric that it sets your emotions up for travel or escape – these are the songs:
- Dream to Keep Us Going
- Ode to A Bristlecone
- Here’s to You
- Summer Is Away
- I For Little Things
- Enjoy It While It Lasts
- Going Easy
From the first track to the closing track, its composition allows for mental serenity, and it keeps you engaged from the very first chord on to the last note.
This is a capsule review of “As Written in the Stars,” where I pull out five of the eight tracks to illustrate Easy Wanderlings’ main theme of not taking life too serious and “enjoying it while it lasts.”
We start with the opening track “Dream to Keep us Going” – a mellow duet that is the quiet storm of the EP. Sitting at the top of the track list is the best place for this song as it subtly strokes your hair with its air-like acoustic guitar and pleasant harmonies. The hidden surprise of the first track is its layers of instrumentation – it starts off soft and builds a little to be firm but not harsh. It stays light and playful and easy. It’s like a lyrical 2-step that keeps your head bobbing and weaving as it meanders in melody and lyric. Parmarth Rai and Pratika Gopinath complement each other’s voice on this track wonderfully. “Dream to Keep Us Going” is a 25% Country, 25% Rock, and 50% Pop and it plays light on the palate like Iced Tea mixed with Lemonade.
“Ode to a Bristlecone” is a lyrical story set to music that describes the power of things in life that mistakenly is underestimated, like love and all its imperfections. This Jazz Pop track is wonderfully built and stands tall on the EP like a Bristlecone Pine tree. With Pratika Gopinath sounding very much like the child of Christina Aguilera and Amy Winehouse, she effortlessly floats through the song and pierces your heart with love and power. She is singing about how love should not change a person but allow for the lovers to grow along love and life. A bit of history: A Bristlecone is a pine tree that does poorly on so many levels, but where it rules is in soil that kills other plant life. Yes, it flourishes in the rockiest of terrains where there is little rainfall and thrives for years. Isn’t true love like that? Ahhh!
This brings me to the fifth song “I For the Little Things.” Opening with classic acoustic guitars and synths, this track has a Classic 1980s Soft Rock approach married to Modern Pop and it introduces Sanyanth Naroth as a vocalist – his tenor/second tenor vocal is low and sensual and twists around your heart and just hangs there. His vocal execution is so nonchalant, and it works – it is care-free and stoic at the same time. The varied harmonies in the background and the textured adlibs helps to connect all the dots of the premise by delivering a sort of “feel-good” attitude. The premise of this song is about stopping to pay attention to the little things, AND, enjoying them. Moreover, the quick step to the beat on this track is amazing. The strong percussions and the brass adds a euphoric feel to the track like “Summers in Bogotá” and making memories.
“Enjoy it While it Lasts” is the stay in the bed when it rains type of song – it has that chill-factor tied up and it is laced with vocal whispers and nostalgic promises. The mournful tone that Pratika Gopinath adds to her vocal register adds a quiet spark. Sounding much like a lounge singer on this track, which is pleasurable, you can see Gopinath’s grimaces, glances, frowns, and eye-lifts in her vocals as she sings this beautiful Pop/Jazz ballad so affectionately and real. The piano and guitar roll along with Gopinath as vocal harmonies highlight the notes just enough. Elongating the word “lasts,” just adds the final touch to the longing and desperation of the songwriter’s plea to enjoy it while it lasts – whatever “it” may be for anyone listening – enjoy it!
“Could you tell me where I can find a new face to put on?” are the lyrics that starts the seventh track called “Faces.” The lyrics tell the story of how one can just be a face in the crowd, lost in the everyday, and how the possibility of hypothetically changing your face can allow for a difference that is often needed – in other words, a change of your mindset. The track starts with synth FX and then it scales back to a noiseless second to give off the feeling of when a person comes into their quiet place after coming in from outside of a bustling city – perfect metaphorical use of instrumentation and FX. Parmarth Rai nails it vocally on this track and he’s easy with it! His full lyric tenor suits this track so well. Like a true Jazz vocalist, Rai dips, drops, trails high, and twists his vocals to be the twin of the music. And at the two minutes – 43 seconds mark, a trumpet swoons and is joined by cellos, guitars, and adlibs that keeps the mood mellowed-chill. This track does not need much to give off its effect of serenity and change. The minimal approach works!
There is a reason Rolling Stone called this EP “story-centric and emphatic,” and why Red Bull called Easy Wanderlings one of the “Top 10 Indie artists to watch in 2018,” and that is the cosmic hold that the band has on storytelling and their use of the right vocalizations and instrumentation to support the story. Their songs and blended voices can be utilized on an EP, film score, television, or Broadway as it really supports the human condition and life. Their music does what music is supposed to do, and that is be the soundtrack to life.
To some today, writing about romance, love, affection, nature’s beauty, change, and/or practical topics is a bit cheesy, but to Easy Wanderlings credit, I have to say that to be able write about such topics show the scale of an artist or bands creativity – these are deep topics. To be able to weld different genres and melodies together to stick to the lyrics and tell a story about something that has been present inside of the human condition for eons of time, and keep it fresh and exciting, is TALENT! It is easy to tell the story of an experience one summer or inside of a club or party, but to delve down deep and find words to express sorrow, love, a torn heart, mental anguish, or even infatuation, takes skill. So, hats off to this band.
Even the track listing tells a story as it opens with a “dream to keep us going” and it closes with “going easy” - a salutation and goodbye set to music.
I’d call Easy Wanderlings’ music “Emotional-based Pop Soul.” More than just a touring band, Easy Wanderlings’ eclectic look and music will inspire and encourage you to live life and soak in all of its beauty wherever you are on the planet.
And even though Easy Wanderlings is a self-contained unit when it comes to their music, vocals, and production, guest artists/musicians on the album include: Siya Ragade, Vilhelm Juhler Kjær, Sameer S Sapre, Shardul Bapat, Sakshi Krish, Asif Afzal, and Shiuli Maji.
Like music back in the day with Sam Cook, Stevie Wonder, and Billie Joel (to name three), Easy Wanderlings’ songs have a standard appeal in how the music makes you pause and reflect – from the first chord to the last note, it makes you keep it. It is not a backdrop or background music where you hear it but do not listen, no, it is the soundtrack, it stays with you through life.
As the EP’s title alludes, how to live life to the fullest is already written out for us, we just have to LOOK!