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Album review: Jal releases Pyaas

A new beginning for the two-member band Jal is finally here with the launch of their third studio album, Pyaas. Images on Sunday takes a look at the much-expected album fresh out from GM Studios. The album has been produced at Goher’s studio and understandably has the signature Jal feel to it.

Technical analysis Pyaas the album unveils the real sound of Jal which is to the point, balanced, simple with clean acoustics and with strong bass lines combining a different drum sound for each track. Says Goher, “My theory is that every song deserves a different treatment. Urr Jana has a very different percussion drum sound with a strong bass line and while I sang it with emotion, I was careful not to overdo it.”

On analysing Jal’s previous outings, one sees a trend with alaaps in almost every song. This time round songs like Ek Arzoo, Lao Guitar, Urr Jana and Dil Haari have different arrangements. “Collectively, understanding all the instruments, knowing my composing/singing along with that of Shazi’s and what he likes, we have managed to produce the sound which is quite close to what we wanted for Jal.

“It is my opinion that what counts to make a song hit is 70 per cent composition and lyrics and 30pc production. Learning from the past, even a well-known, experienced singer can end up with a flop solo album if it doesn’t have the right melody, lyrics and production.”

The track Dil Haari has a refreshing Arabic sound and acoustics. The pitch here is both high and low. “I sang it as a challenge and it took two weeks of practice because it’s the toughest song on the album requiring extra expression, energy and feel. The reason for launching Pyaas with Dil Haari is to go out of the box and make something new. We have used Arabic and folk instruments in it.”

Tanhai has perhaps the most powerful melody. The song has become a rage due to the drama serial of which it is the title song. It has two versions in the album: the original track and the slow OST version.

Jal has already performed Ek Arzoo for Coke Studio and here the boys present the complete version. Kash Yeh Pal and Dil Ki Baat are ballads while Tu Muskura, Pyaas and Lao Guitar are powerhouse tracks. Lao Guitar has interesting lyrics: “Toh lao guitar, bajain koi dhun, gayen woh jo gaye munn, puranay huay sub gaanay, gayen gay ab naye koi dhun” (lets forget the past and make new songs). Goher says he has dedicated it to the youth who want to form music bands and dream about doing something big in music.

Goher as the lead singer Interestingly, this album unveils Goher’s talent as a lead singer. He performs decently throughout, especially on Dil Haari which is a tough track. “I personally think that singing is all about feeling the song. I have been practicing vocals regularly for two years now. I knew we had strong songs, lyrics and a better understanding of music, so the only area which needed focus was vocals,” says Goher. He says Jal’s new album has received decent feedback from Indian music pundits while it remains to be seen how music critics in Pakistan react to it.

Shazi as a vocalist Jal bassist Shazi has also pitched in with a track, Dil Ki Baat. “The song and lyrics were planned and were written by Goher and I, while sitting in a radio station in Dubai. I wanted to share my vocal talent with our fans and Goher supported me all the way,” he shares. When asked about the experience of working on Pyaas, Shazi adds, “Working on the third album was a fantastic task because this time round we had new challenges to meet, beginning from jam sessions to recordings and concerts.”

The launch While the situation in Pakistan still isn’t conducive for a studio release, it has been a brave decision on part of Jal. “The current scenario is terrible for new artists and the big artists are not even thinking about launching albums and are focusing on singles because there is no support of record labels and brands. However, Jal has a huge fan base and it was a tough decision to release the album. We did it thanks to Universal Music and M Records,” says Goher.

Pyaas is a rock-solid album with crisp production, beautiful melodies, sky-scrapping guitar tunes and bass work along with an outstanding launch track. This album will most certainly mould Jal’s future in music.