Shri arrives with a brand new album in the same month as Nitin Sawhney and the obvious comparisons pit Shri as the poor man's Sawhney. The trouble with this album is thus: Shri is an amazing flautist and a solid bass player. Shri is better when he is being classical or slower. When Shri tries to compete with the likes of Shiva Soundsystem or Chase and Status for dance steps, he comes off being a bit dated. 'East Rain' was great when it was slower, more concerned with song-writing and full of melody. Where 'Seven Steps' the new follow-up fails slightly is in its efforts to keep up with the fast-moving dance world. Underneath the underwhelming drums and dated bass sounds are some brilliant melodies, well-constructed songs and beautiful haunting musicality. 'Mad B-Line' shows strength in its rumbling bassline focus, skitting all over the frequencies, while 'Ga Ga Re' takes a traditional South Indian sound and stretches it in a groovy adventure in the future. There is a lot of positivity on the album and it is largely wordless and instrumental, with the occasional collaboration and you can definitely feel that Shri has created a concept in his head about what his wordless songs are about, this creating an uplifting mood throughout. It is worthy musically but the drum programming and the sound effects leave it sounding a little dated, which is a shame because Shri has spent the last 10 years showing us how talented he was. Unfortunately, he seems to have run out of steam. Which is maybe what he needs because he is best when he is classical and filmic, sound-tracking visuals and moving pictures, using his tabla, flute and aching violin to emote tears into listener's eyes. Maybe it's time for Shri to worry less about the global club scene and get to where he works best, the classical Indian sound.
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Avocado Picker: 28, author, journalist... specialist subjects include: the Wire, the post X-Files career of Agent Scully, Bollywood music 1950-1970, Spider-man, Dare Devil, The Sopranos, British comedy 1990-present, the complete works of Chuck Palahniuk and Aniruddha Bahal, Arnie films pre- True Lies, and different uses for cheese in culinary situations.
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