TODAY -

Chasing Tidal Waves by Lo! Peninsula
(Critically dissecting the debut single of Manipur's first shoegaze band)

Ningombam Captain *

cover art of the song 'Chasing Tidal Waves' by Lo! Peninsula.
cover art of the song 'Chasing Tidal Waves' by Lo! Peninsula.



"The shadows on the walls don't recognize me anymore. I wish I could pretend that everything's gonna be alright."

To a person who knows humour about pop culture references, the above quoted lines might sound like a fragment of Alan Watts' spiritual lecture, but it is not. It is actually an excerpt of the melancholic lyrics written by the shoegaze rock trio 'Lo! Peninsula'. The trio consisting of Nitin Samurailatpam on vocals and lead guitar (and the effect pedals too), Avinash Thokchom on bass guitar and Jyotin Elangbam on drums, is based in Imphal.

The current indie music scene in Manipur, ranging from small music projects upto frequent cafe gigs, is quite intriguing. A 'back-to-roots' stigma revolves around the hype and acts as a portal to explore the culture of the state and it's configuration to suit the penetrating wave of western culture. Solo artists and group acts often induldge themsleves in non-mainstream genres like folk revival, contemporary music and indie rock. Considering the big picture, there are some music genres around the world which are relatively unknown to the mass audience and also having the minimal amount of artists who venture on them. This includes genres like ambience, space rock, avant garde, art rock, and of course shoegaze, too.

Shoegazing is a tributary of indie rock whose course runs somewhere between alternative rock and neo-psychedelia. Characterised by the heavy use of guitar effect pedals and deliberate blurring of musical components, shoegazing was popular among the wave of bands arising from the suburbs of Britain in the early 90's. This genre flourished for a limited period of time after being over-shadowed by the mainstream britpop bands.

Just like the way how Mother Nature finds a way to enter an isolated area and introduce a new species, the evolving sonic pattern of the world finds a way to evoke the rare shoegazing vibes in Manipur also, penetrating the nine hill ranges. Thus, Lo! Peninsula, Manipur's first shoegaze rock band was formed in the early months of 2017. They released their debut song titled 'Chasing Tidal Waves' via Youtube and Soundcloud on the 29th of July. The official audio magnificiently garnered 1.6K views on Youtube in just 3 weeks after release.

Technically, the song length is a moderate 4 minutes and 36 seconds, which is convinient enough for a shoegaze song to express the hazy feels. To an experienced music listener, the song might sound like a congruous mash-up of tracks from The Verve's 'Urban Hymns' with Slowdive's album 'Souvlaki Space Station'. It has the traditional vibe of a britpop song mixed with a blurry wave of a typical dream-pop sound.

The song opens with an ambient intro in the form of an up-building crescendo which is to be met with the consistent drumbeats of the song. Then comes the cascading guitar plucking which serves as the trademark of the song. The intro guitar lasts upto 00:50 and introduces the overall aesthetics. The verse starts with the soothing vocals to deliver the lyrics with optimum emotions. The tenor range vocal is perfect because a countertenor might have spoiled the song scale or at the least, produced an entirely different result.

The chorus has an earworm effect as it is delivered at a higher note than that of the verses, which is rare in shoegaze songs. After the upbeat chorus and the second verse, at around 2:45, comes the most interesting part the song has to offer, a sound which resembles the actual tidal waves of a sea washing up to a rocky shore. The sound gets lower and elevates simultaneously, depicting an advancing tidal wave to the listener. It gradually mixes with an indistinct vocal humming.

Then, the song keeps up with the literal meaning when a guitar trance of alternate picking is introduced and the tidal sound fades away gradually, which implies to the chasing away of tidal waves. The trance serves as the guitar solo of the song. After it stops at 3:50, the intro guitar resumes, unveiling the sparse drums and the underlying bassline. The bassline is addictive and really adds to the sonic depth of the song.

The song itself is a wash of sound. The enchanting guitars, nostalgiac ambience, consistent drums, addictive bassline, strong vocals and above all, the melancholic lyrics make the song and experience of a beautiful white noise that is too pure and unadultrated to withstand.

References :
https://youtu.be/OPvFp7jNluc


* Ningombam Captain wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at ningombamcaptain(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on September 22, 2017.


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