Singer-songwriter Aditya Kambhampati brings back his acoustic vibes for his first 2021 release, a 5-minute track called Laalten (the Hindi word for a ‘lantern’). As has been the case with his previous work (especially last year’s The Green Room Project), Kambhampati delves into philosophical concepts, adorned with poetic songwriting.
In Laalten, the artist delves into the illusions of a regular person’s life. Humans chase goals in mysterious ways, hoping that their efforts would bear fruit. But sometimes, the uncertainty of it all gets the best of humans, prompting them to get back to where they started. Laalten sums up this unwarranted circle of life that all of us might face in some regard or the other.
Hence, thematically, the song can get pretty dark from some. Whether it be Laalten or Lacuna Riff (a song by that same artist that channels the final moments preceding death), it’s clear that the singer and instrumentalist isn’t afraid of getting acquainted with grim and realistic themes.
And yet, Laalten seems to have some underlying positivity beneath it that’s summed up beautifully by Kambhampati’s acoustic strumming and fingerpicking. As is the case with his aforementioned previously-released discography, his guitaring arrangements are worth-noticing, contributing to soothing interludes rather than monotonous, derivative strumming that otherwise dominates the independent pop scene. The fingerpicking riff succeeding the hook is increasingly soulful and melancholic (in a soothing way).
Usually, a slow-paced song like this might sound too stretched given its duration. However, Kambhampati’s guitar is a significant part of his ensemble that deserves its own moment to shine, hence justifying the duration. Some gentle drumming and violin-work further add to the haunting sound. All in all, Laalten is beautifully composed and poignantly written.
Verdict: A darkly real and soulful work on the illusions of life.