Apr 8, 2010

Alobo: First dream; now await the second

Artiste: Alobo
Album: Road of a Thousand Dreams
Genre: Contemporary
Studio: Pheto Music Studio
Ratings: Good Listening

Dunno if this Alobo guy’s the same poppy-rock Alobo from Patkai Christian College who did a rousing jig during 2004 Summer Jam (Or was it the 2003 ANCSU beat?) – And stole the limelight from the guest metal bands. We were a guest artiste there and the crowd’s buzz said Alobo (“notun singer” back then) was good at his shot. The chicks seemed to dig him mighty too.

I have little patience for musicians that pop in with a pile of embarrassingly maudlin songs, play at a shitty government function and pop out forever. Gosh.
There’s no way to saying if the dude’s gonna pull more punches or vanish after a song or two, but ‘Road of a Thousand Dreams’ holds promise. The CD arrived for the review and I dispatched him a message that if his album is one of those local Naga tragedies, he’s in major Media shit – and I expect Patkai alumni to be good. I like my set to be at least ‘fair’ ratings; it’s a recompense for me because I hate wasting time on shitty, half-baked (or burnt) freebies.

One reason you’ll cozy up to ‘Road of a Thousand Dreams’ is its fun factor – here’s a performer who’s just having fun – no lofty musical ambitions, no flashy arrangements, no grandiose guitars, no overdressed contemporary frills or Angst shay shays selling anything; just basic (if a little too simple) tunes, radio-friendly choruses and tonnes of exaltation for Jesus. Jesus rocks big time, you know. Another plus is the host of experienced war dogs – Neise Meruno, Sosang, Sunep Lemtor and Kashito and that talented rascal Joey Woch and all.

Get your take: ‘Road of a Thousand Dream’ is a very nice, frisky, threadbare, Latinish (credit the Tamba?) pie. ‘Make me whole,’ is one of my top picks. I dunno, it is a very earnest song evoking vivid images of total surrender – I’m struggling with Christianity today. Then there is this powerful ‘Hold on,’ a rehash of the opus instrumental, redone with lyrics. My pick.

But the one unforgettable highlight was ‘Kumzujulo’ – a resonant ballad in Sumi. No so much for the merits of melody as for the way Alobo delivers it. He shines in this song – so beautifully crafted was the Sumi lyrics that we’d actually though he was singing in French. Honest. Listen closely and you’ll realize. Awesome stuff, because it’s highly dulcet too.

My only problem with ROTD? It’s a very, very safe album – safe and please-all-offend-none sorta. Serious time listeners won’t really scratch the itch. Alobo has some big surprises stashed away in his voice – if only he would break out from that comfort zone of idiosyncratic classicism that so oppress artistry. With a timbre like his (and those musicians of caliber behind him), I’m really interested to hearing him do some proper Jazz or say, rock fusion.

For instance I’d heard Nise Meruno’s “Hallelujah” and I was like ‘man, that one’s epic’. How do you swing intricate symphonies of chorales on an item technically attributing to Aria? Or take for instance Theja Meru on that soaring ‘Believe.’ The man wasn’t even trying except at being honest. Alobo possesses that punch too, but hasn’t pulled it yet. I’m convinced the guy has much more to offer – just stop dipping yer dainty toes, man. Wade in.