The six-track record is the first of a two-part release for the Mumbai electro-rockers
Of all places, Mumbai electro psych-rock band Corner Café Chronicles began as a solo project in the bedroom of vocalist-guitarist/synth player Chinmay Patkar while he was in medical college in 2016. The musician would later recruit band members after posting an ad on Facebook. Following a couple of lineup changes, the group now consists of Patkar, drummer Parth Malhotra, bassist Soumitra Vichare and guitarist Swanand Thakur. In the last three years, the band has taken the country’s indie scene by storm by releasing a couple of singles and gigging extensively. Corner Café Chronicles are now out with their debut six-track concept album, Renaissance.
According to Patkar, when the band began working on Renaissance in 2018, they made a conscious decision to write “mature compositions.” Over the last two years, the band recorded 12 songs, six of which will feature on the next release Renaissance II. Patkar says, “It’s a story which revolves around the anatomy of change. Our lyrical themes are mostly psychology and sociology oriented; aligned towards a thought revolution.” He adds, “Our tagline for the album is, ‘Your revolution needs an upgrade!’”
The band’s influence by English psych-rockers Pink Floyd and singer-songwriter David Bowie is heavily felt throughout the album. Renaissance opens with the shape-shifting “I.F. Only” before moving on to the funky title track.
The band also shares a song title for the ambient “Porcelain People” with fellow Mumbai pop-rock band The Colour Compound off their 2014 album From Where We Stand. Although Patkar knows of the group, he wasn’t aware of their song. “What we wanted to say with the song is, it throws light on the tendency of people to become numb over years of having a trapped mind, becoming fragile beautiful silhouettes of themselves.” Patkar is also intrigued to know if The Colour Compound’s song is on a similar theme. He says, “I’m going to go back and listen to The Colour Compound because that would be a really interesting thing to connect on.”
Renaissance then moves onto the gritty “Shapes” which is about “a feeling of belonging” while “Midas” explodes into an all-out rock rager. “It [the song] explores the duality of mankind,” says Patkar. The album closes with the electronic and introspective “Redux.”
The entire album is filled with indulgent production. There’s something for everyone across the LP. From heavy rock riffs and blistering guitar solos to ambient relaxation with electronic soundscapes to funky grooves, spoken word parts, synth layers and resolute vocals. Corner Café Chronicles self-produced the album and tracked it at Thane’s Blue Cassette Studios. The album was mixed by alt-rockers Spud in the Box’s guitarist Siddharth Talwar and mastered by drummer-producer Zain Calcuttawala, both of whom run Horse Garden Productions.
Corner Café Chronicles will be promoting the album online since gigs have dried up due to the coronavirus pandemic. The band will be highly active on their social media platforms running campaigns such as deep dives into their music and a weekly talk show called Dates with CCC where they interview fellow artists every Sunday. The band is also kicking off a crowdfunding campaign to recover the costs of production for the album. “We have partnered up with (online platform) Skillbox for this,” says Patkar.
The vocalist tells us that Renaissance II – which will be released later this year – will have a different sonic approach as compared to the just-released album. “Part one and two falls into the same universe thematically. Part one is the question, then part two is the answer,” he says.
The band has been coping well during the lockdown according to the frontman, pursuing different things to keep busy while he has used the time to study for his masters. Patkar assures us that Corner Café Chronicles is in it for the long haul and says, “We’ll continue creating music that makes people think and keeps surprising us.”
Stream ‘Renaissance’ below: