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CD Feature/ Indian Tea Company: "Aravinda"

img  Tobias

First we take Hamburg, then we take the world! A globalised planet will naturally produce its globalised bands, but it is an interesting fact of modern life that it will mainly do so on a local level. Which is not to say that the activities of the Indian Tea Company have been restricted to a radius of just a few kilometers. With a bunch of successful tours, support slots for some of the bigger names in rock and two full-length albums out, their long and winding road through the music business has already offered them some sweetness. A double disc feature of CD and concert DVD, (live at the “Knust”-club in Hamburg), “Aravinda” is their most determined effort to date and yet their most relaxed one as well.

In the almost twenty minute long documentary, which accompanies the set as an informative bonus, some older footage of the group shows them as an ecstatic and sweaty live act, full of energy and passion. The energy and passion have staid, but sweat and trance have been exchanged for soul and dance, as the trio delivers a string of melodically grooving songs. In their ten years if existence, front man Guido Goh has perfected his skills for writing tight and catchy tunes with the occasional harmonic surprise and the rest of the band sure knows how to get the audience’s feet moving. Their repertoire contains everything a well-balanced night out needs: Whether or not you like a cigarette-lighter ballad like “Confession” or not, it contrasts nicely with more upfront and contageously swinging tracks such as “Light my Eyes”. The exotic elements have been reduced to a minimum and Goh’s sarod (a fretless cousin of the sitar) blends in seaml.essly with the other instruments, insetad of acting like a disturbing distraction. Which may reduce the leftfield status of the band, but does the homogeneity of the pieces a lof of good. The Hamburg concert presents them as a strong and soulful Popband with oriental influences and their eyes firmly fixed to the song. So does the album, which, at a mere fourty minutes for 12 songs, has not one ounce of slack to offer. No drum solos or lengthy organ excursions – this is the nakes essence. Still, “Aravinda” is a varied and colourful affair, which doesn’t even shy away from using technoid keyboard sequences, if the arrangement so requires. While the production, in concurrence with the stage performance, is not overly powerful, it emphasises the close interaction between the musicians and the simple, but deadly effective melodies.

Everyone involved seems to have a slightly obsessive and interestingly personal relationship with their instrument and they all agree on the fact that music is part of their family and as real as any physical object. These short interview sequences from the DVD, in my eyes, are the quintessential summary of the entire package. For you can hear and see the passion in every single note here. Many will find this music to be just a tad too unobtrusive. But the Indian Tea Company are beyond the point of catering to anyone’s wishes. Sticking to your strengths is certainly no bad strategy in order to turn into a global player.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Indian Tea Company

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