Indian rock in general, and hard rock in particular, has somewhat been on a decline since the past few years. Apart from a few seasoned veterans continuing the game, genres like hip-hop are more dominant now in terms of streaming and popular impact. There might be reasons for a lessening influence of rock as a slew of recent rock releases tend to focus on overdone themes of motivation, inspiration, and the like.
Further, a 5-minute-melody (complete with instrumental solos) and an interlude might not work for the average modern listener who’s even ready to listen to a 2-minute song.
In this dry context, Rusty Moe’s Mrs Dickinson comes as a breath of fresh air. The 4-track EP bears a funk and rock blend that you might have heard before but its approach is still lively and engaging enough. At its core is a storyline that seems to revolve around the titular character, a woman who seduces a male taking him down a rabbit hole of lust, drugs, and guilt. Towards the final songs, an atmosphere of hopelessness is set as our hero can’t seem to leave Mrs Dickinson as much as he tries.
The storytelling elements aside, the topsy-turvy soundscape evokes a nostalgic senese of good ole’ rock n’ roll that would be perfectly suited for a live performance. The opening track (also titled Mrs Dickinson) introduces the central character while setting the mood of frenzied chaos in a tight 3-minute runtime. Again, the lyrical descriptions are poetic yet simplistic enough for one to groove to. The guitaring gets hauntingly eerie towards the end as the general air of suspense builds up.
The next track is titled Wham Bam. Now, those who have been following Rusty Moe’s work would already know the significance of this song as one of their older ventures. It’s an upbeat, energetic chapter of the EP bringing back a classic 80s-style rock sound akin to acts like Survivor, Cutting Crew, and Europe.
Talking about Western artists, Late seems to have a funk-like guitaring and bass pattern while lead vocalist Aakash Jacob’s passionate voice is strangely comparable to that of Anthony Kiedis from Red Hot Chilli Peppers. While Timmy Elliot’s guitaring is noteworthy in a tracks, it deserves a special mention for Late.
The closing chapter Dreams Untrue is a more sombre conclusion to the hyperactive trip that was Mrs Dickinson. Bound to be the best from the EP for some listeners, Dreams Untrue, as its title suggests, finds the singer lamenting about his dreams and world crashing down. He seems to show regret for his actions in the past with an air of hopelessness.
One of the most standout portions is when the guitar almos seems to weep right before the fourth minute. If one were to sum up this song, it is the calm after (rather than before) the storm. After a raging set of three tracks, the band seems to have achieved some sort of hopeful awakening, marked with inner introspection. The anthemic song lasts for 5 minutes but hardly does it ever feel dragged, serving as a fitting ending to a memorable record…
Verdict: With a zestful ensemble and a soundscape reminiscent of 80s classic rock anthems, Mrs. Dickinson shines bright.