It is not every day that the sleepy little town of Tezpur gets to witness a rock show, so when a self-professed rock aficionado gets to know that one of her favorite bands is coming to perform at her very own university, you can bet she reaches the venue way ahead of time and is one of them people who shove other people aside to stand in the very first row.
Like I did. Ah well, in my defense, they were the Lucid Recess. This really amazing band from Guwahati formed originally by brothers Siddharth and Amitabh Barooa, with drummer Partha Boro joining them later, came to Tezpur University on the 23rd October to perform in the rock show held during the annual tech fest TechXetra, and I, am honestly glad to tell the tale.
I had been smitten by their music a few months back, when I took out some time to really listen to their music on being recommended to listen to them by not one, but quite a few friends. It is not very common to hear people talk about a band from Asom like this, and Lucid Recess’ popularity intrigued me. To know what makes them tick, I put on my headphones, closed my eyes, and set aside an hour to listen to their Carved EP. And the only way to describe the experience is that the very first track “The Maze” (which till now happens to be my personal favorite) made me sit up with eyes wide open, shaking my head in disbelief. I mean, truth be admitted, I knew they were good; but I had no idea they were this good. But good is such a generic word. To actually give you a feel of what Lucid Recess stands for I have to tell you about the live show.
So on the evening of the show, people from Tezpur University as well as those from outside thronged the venue for the raw taste of hard rock. Before Lucid Recess got up on stage, two other bands (one from Nagaon, and the other from Shillong) pumped up the ambiance, and the crowd was as ready as it could be for the stars of that evening. However, with the set-up and the audio-check taking a little more time than the crowd was ready for, people started getting a little edgy, shifting on their toes for the real magic to begin. And then finally Lucid Recess started playing.
M.A.D. There’s no other word to describe it. From the moment they started playing the first track of the evening, “Socially Active Warrior”, the crowd went wild. The sudden “kick” rushed out in almost palpable infectious waves among the people, and believe me, I am not exaggerating. Next up from their album “Engraved Invitation” was “The Tribe”, which starts with an unusual beat, and keeps you guessing what’s coming next, although I am sure once we all got the hang of the song we were yelling out loud along with Amitabh (who is the lead vocalist, and the bassist). Proof is the fact that none of us had our vocal chords intact the next day. Add to it the dull ache in the neck that can only come from hours of head banging. “The Tribe” left the crowd gasping for more, and Lucid Recess doled out “Painstaking Obsession” next. Featured in the coveted Great Indian Rock XII compilation, it is one of Lucid Recess’ more popularly known songs. What followed next were “Purpose” and “Colourful Déjà vu”, both from “Engraved Invitation”. And then Lucid Recess gifted Tezpur University with a previously unreleased song, which was nascent enough not to even have a name, and hence being called “The new song”. I am actually waiting for the “new” song to be released so I get to relive that entire evening again and again, at least acoustically. With two slow numbers “Lost” and “Can’t Help Me” Lucid Recess let the crowd take a breather from all that head banging, and heaven knows we all needed it. And then they went ahead and amazed us with “What’s It To Me” and “Does It Matter” again. Each time a song would start, you could almost feel the crowd waiting in hushed anticipation to see how it unfolded, and then totally lose themselves in the rhythm. After another unreleased number, Lucid Recess had finally come to the end of the show, wrapping up with my favorite, an extended version of “The Maze” from their Carved Ep. And when drummer Partha started with his drum solo, the only thing that could come to my mind was one of my friend’s words about how “the drumsticks are an extension of his soul”. Twelve songs. Over an hour and a half. And yet the crowd was hungry for more.
I think nothing would give more credit to Lucid Recess than the fact that they have the ability to convert rock-virgins into believers. Inconceivable though it may seem to be, there are people (I regret to say mostly of the female variety) who just don’t “get” rock out here, and I could see a few hesitant spectators waiting for that rush to yet kick in. All it took was twelve songs, and at the end of the show one of them yelled out to me with a hoarse voice, “Don’t you feel drunk on rock?” True story.
After listening to their music for the whole of the afternoon (that was when I had first listened to their music), I knew I simply had to talk to them, and before I knew it, I found myself yakking away with Amitabh on the phone. Once done blabbering about just how big a fan of their music I was (that was when I finally let him put in a couple of words!) I pelted him with questions about the when and the why and the how. He then went on to talk about how Siddartha and he had both been influenced by rock and heavy metal from a very early age, and hence had always known they would someday form a band. With both of them finishing off their studies, it only seemed natural to form the band in 2004, although like Amitabh says, the band really took off only in 2007. That was the year they released their EP Carved, and that catapulted them to fame, with songs from Carved being featured in various rock compilations. With their first outstation gig at the Great Indian Rock show in 2008, where they performed with other famous bands such as Bhayanak Maut, there was simply no looking back. In 2009, Lucid Recess was joined by their current drummer, Partha Boro, and that was just the cherry on top of the cake the band needed. April 2010 saw the release of their first album, “Engraved Invitation” which has been amazingly well received. What makes me love it even more was that the special edition box sets came in a hand made box, and included a 20 Page Booklet, a poster and a sticker, along with some seriously kickass music.
So what really makes Lucid Recess this special? This was something that I had asked myself, after listening to “The Maze” for the umpteenth time. This song, in particular, speaks psychedelic to me, for each time I listen to this, I am transported to some place else, and I am only half-conscious of where I really am. I earnestly wish I could tell for sure what it is about the song that makes me imagine vividly colorful brushstrokes on a black canvas. Another song from their Carved EP “You Will See.. My Friend” reminds me vaguely of some Creed song, and yet again, I give credit to Lucid Recess for being at par with any international rock band. To quote from the RSJ magazine, “These guys are a relatively new band and I must admit, most alt-metal/rock bands wish they sounded like them”. You know the feeling extreme smokers have of wanting to smoke a cigarette even while they are smoking one? Well, for me it was like this. I wanted to listen to the songs for the yet another time even while I was listening to them. And it particularly happened with me while listening to “What’s It To Me” from “Engraved Invitation”. Simply love the way it starts and then flows. Come to think of it, all the songs have this knack of grabbing your attention with their catchy intros, and with Lucid Recess, you know that the attention is not going to waver anywhere else. Very rare is it, that one finds an entire album consistently good, while inculcating a refreshing variety in all of the songs.
I had always felt that true rock is not about the noise drowning out everything else, or about using decibel to get the heart thumping. True rock stealthily creeps into you, and all of a sudden, before you even get to know, there’s adrenaline rushing through your veins. And why I am mentioning this here is because Lucid Recess does just that. With Amitabh and Siddhartha coming up with sensitive, poignant lyrics for their songs, you see a whole different side of the rock band. One whose members are well read , and are socially aware of the issues. I also found it quite nice that none of them have the so-called rock-star arrogance, no brouhaha or unnecessary flourishes, if you know what I mean. Talking to them you know these are people who do it solely for the love of it.
What makes them different from others must also be the fact that they are more into originals than covers, and they have always been that way right from the start. I mean, all the greatest rock songs would always a hit among the crowd when it comes to live shows, and you could perform them till the cows come home and you would still be a mind-blowing band, but Lucid Recess have proven that they have it in them to make it big with their own compositions. If the current trend is anything to go by, they will keep coming up with exciting stuff, since their music seems to evolve continuously to imbibe the best at the moment.
All this is very well if you have heard them play, because then you would know what I am talking about. But in case you haven’t, my suggestion is that you beg, borrow or steal their album “Engraved Invitation”, and experience Lucid Recess for yourself. And better still, arrange for them to play live some place some time. For nothing, but nothing, beats the thump-thump in your heart that you will feel in tandem with the drumbeats, or the rock-high you will experience as an after-effect of such a show, long after the show in itself is over. Just like it happened with me.
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