TODAY -

Eidi Ethantani by Eyoom
(Critical dissection of Eyoom's debut EP)

Ningombam Captain *

cover art of 'Eidi Ethantani by Eyoom
cover art of 'Eidi Ethantani by Eyoom



The year 2017 was marked with many significant recordings that were washed up on the shore of indie music in Manipur resulting from a metaphoric wreckage of the bloody vessel of "blocked creativity" belonging to the common aritsts. Genre fusions were practised without hesitation; to the favour of the adventurous listener who is not afraid to face the confusing looks of contemporary music.

In this holy (or rather unholy) process, folk genre experienced a wardrobe shift regarding the outfit of sonic presentation. Along with The Koi and Atingkok, Eyoom is dominating the current folk scene. Eyoom was formed in the year 2015 with Bronson Khumukcham as the principal songwriter and vocalist, Seonath Wakrambam and Prasant Ningthoujam on guitars, and Vishal Ngairangbam on keyboards. And Sumit Sijagurumayum on drums and percussion.

Eyoom's early recordings were posted on their SoundCloud page (link given below), and they were able to harness a modest following, again thanks to their constant shows in every music festivals around. A listener favourite is their chilled cover of the classic Manipuri song "Khangna Khangna Khanghoudeko" which, in my opinion, will remain as one of the best songs of Eyoom.

This cover showcase the true originality of Eyoom which will ultimately serve as the antidote to germinate as a unique band different from mainstream musicians and not to be mistaken for a tribute band of the Koi by a blunt listener. The release of the debut EP "Eidi Ethantani" is the golden ticket for Eyoom to frontier the folk domain with style. Eidi Ethantani was released on the 5th of October '17. The EP can be classified under the genre of Contemporary Folk. Elements of alternative rock are also explored in the songs, which are then met with productive results.

The track listing of the EP is flawless. 'Ahing Ama', a steady jangle pop influenced song with dreamy lyrics, is made the opening track. In a track playlist of mostly soulful and melancholic songs, the placement of a feel-good anthem as the intro serves a purpose to embark 'calmness before a storm' vibe in the psyche of the listener. If we dig into the meaning, the lyrics of Ahing Ama is surrealistic.

The song depicts a serene moonlit night from the perspective of an onlooker who is having a transit to a sleepy realm. The intrinsic nature of the song reminds me of an easy listening standard pop like that of early Frank Sinatra - songs that can be absorbed without much attention, even while performing daily tasks.

'Pirang', the follow up track is the best song to express the vocal ability of Eyoom and to define the sonic richness of the EP. It has the same spacious feel of Ahing Ama but has the dark avatar of it. The song displays the more mature side of the band's musicianship. The outro section of Pirang (however short it may seem) shows the band's proficiency in making up the respective atmospheres of the song. It would be precise to call Eyoom as 'the band of moods'.

'Kaplanu' is the third track and (like all the good 'third tracks' of good albums around the world) it equalizes the emotional upheaval caused by the two preceeding songs. Lyrically, it is about consoling one's own heart and accepting the past. The best part of this song is the plaintive guitar solo at the outro, which reminds me of a U2 induced nostalgia.

The next song 'Nangtani' is rather a disappointing one. It is by far the most 'non-Eyoom'ic song ever recorded by Eyoom themselves. The vocable at the begining of the song will confuse a listener if Eyoom is an independent folk rock band or a mainstream raga artist composing Manipuri film songs. Musically, the song does not seem to possess any errors but the real anomaly is the inclusion of the song in the EP.

Maybe, 'Nangtani' does not suit the EP because of the fact that it was written 9 years ago and this track might would do well in a solo project of Bronson Khumukcham, if he'll ever venture one. The song fails to show Eyoom's originality regarding their sound. The EP would have been perfect if they substituted this song with their early 'Khangna Khangna Khanghoudeko' cover. Then it would have been a strong pivot for the EP to revolve around.

The title track 'Eidi Ethantani' comes chronologically as the penultimate song. It is a humorous confession of a lonely protagonist who is desperate for true love. The combination of the upbeat tune and the pathos in the lyrics, which finds relevance in the heart of many listeners, makes this song a fan favourite. The remastered version of this song in the EP is way better than the earlier recording uploaded in their SoundCloud account. The decision to make the intro guitars more raw and cheesy unlike the earlier sound is applaudable. The bluesy guitar licks in the course of the song elevates it to certain heights.

The last track 'Kouramge' deserves the spot too well. It is a piano ballad about bidding farewell to a lover. The heartfelt lyrics can evoke serious emotional turbulence to a relevant listener.

From my side, Eidi Ethantani EP deserves a 4 out of 5 star rating, with reparations given to some bad decisions. Overall, the EP is one of the best contributions in the Manipuri contemporary folk scene. Let us hope that Eyoom will be able to keep up their standards in future releases.

References : https://m.soundcloud.com/eyoom-band


* Ningombam Captain wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at ningombamcaptain(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on March 15, 2018.



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