Young guitar-slinger from Mumbai makes an impressive foray into progressive territory.
Mostly known for the death-grind adventures of GUTSLIT and playing in a few more metal outfits, Prateek Rajagopal has finally refined his multi-instrumental solo method – within a project started in 2017 and coming to fruition on this EP. Surprisingly, for a themed album which deals with various aspects of emotional distress and the necessity of human contact as a means for survival, “Scavenger” isn’t immersed in gloom; instead, there’s a blistering glimmer to the five pieces where even the short “Part II” has inner expanse and expectancy to it.
Such an understated grandeur is being build from the ivories throb ‘n’ drone on “Write Across” whose mournful vocal lines betray the artist’s Indian roots, yet it’s the marriage of acoustic guitar lace and industrial noise that creates the hard-hitting contrast, especially when the waves of sound drown in the near-silence before Colin Edwin’s bass and Wojtek Deregowski’s drums provide a solid ground for Rajagopal’s to go deeper into psyche. Prateek’s predatory tones meet classical piano on “Escape Orb” before six-string harmonies begin to dance around like light that will shine brighter and brighter until heavy riffs up the mood in a quantum jump manner to resolve the tension with orchestral tide.
Cloaked in synthesizer, all these elements make “Electric Wizard” a quintessential art-rock trip through various tempos and textures, but the title track’s many layers fail to conceal an alluring pop melody which pours optimism in this heady brew of styles and lets the listener out with a gracious spring in their step. Not easy listening, HOIA’s first genuine album might become the beginning of a beautiful future.