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Manooghi Hi: Silence

Silence, the sophomore LP by Manooghi Hi, is kind of mind blowing. Essentially a hybrid of progressive rock and Indian scales, rhythms, and instrumentation, their music is seductive, bombastic, and hypnotic. From beautiful ballads to fierce jams, Manooghi Hi prove to be equally skilled as musicians, vocalists, and songwriters.

The band formed a few years ago when vocalist and Bombay native Mehnaz Hoosein came to America, eager to produce a new form of rock music. The septet released its eponymous debut album in 2009, and it received critical acclaim nationally. With this sophomore effort, the group has tightened arrangements and improved songwriting while continuing to be experimental and bold.

Opener "My Friends" begins with a tribal rhythm and chant. Eventually more instruments are added as the rhythms become more complex. In a way, it's as if prog rock version of Led Zeppelin provided the soundtrack for a Bollywood film (although vocalists Hoosein and Ava Chakravarti have more in common with Grace Slick and Ann Wilson than with the mousey singers in those movies). "Everything" is a soulful ballad that complements poignant music and melody with (appropriately) histrionic performances. "Kismet" emphasis another chant, and its usage of strings and dynamics makes it entrancing. Humorously commenting on pop culture, Manooghi Hi mention Jesus, Buddah, Hendrix, and Andy Warhol in the same verse.

"Om Baba" is the most hectic and in-your-face track on Silence, while "Space That Drops In" is the album's most accessible and appropriate for radio airplay (which isn't to say that the rest of the album shouldn't reach as big an audience as possible it should). "Where India Begins" concludes the album wonderfully due to its sense of nostalgia and closure. Also, paying homage to the aforementioned influence, Manooghi Hi does a faithful and interesting version of "Kashmir."

Silence is a refreshing and adventurous spin on the genre(s). The greatest rock bands of the 70s recognized the power and complexity of Indian music, and Manooghi Hi simply brings it to the forefront with authenticity and top notch musicianship. Disproving the myth of the "sophomore slump," the album oozes style, confidence, and quality, and overall, this will be a tough act to follow when the time comes for a third release.

Track Listing
1 My Friends
2 Everything
3 Kismet
4 Silence
5 Om Baba
6 Space That Drops In
7 Kashmir
8 Where India Begins
9 Everything (producers cut)

Added: September 15th 2011
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1845
Language: english

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