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AlbumReviews: '€˜Sinestesia'€™ by Efek Rumah

  • Stanley Widianto

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Fri, January 22, 2016   /  04:26 pm
AlbumReviews: '€˜Sinestesia'€™ by Efek Rumah

Sinestesia, alternative rock band Efek Rumah Kaca'€™s third output, is a classic album. That'€™s a big statement given it'€™s 2015 and taste is getting more and more spoon-fed.

But seriously, no amount of increased commitment or hard work could'€™ve made Sinestesia a better record than it is '€” it'€™s nuanced and emotional and just a staggering work of art.

Sinestesia, however, is not an event; it was surprise-released at night, with the press-release announcing it only two sentences long. The songs are all named after colors '€” red, yellow, orange, blue, green and white '€” the color that founding member Adrian (bass), who suffers from a virus that has left him blind, sees when he hears each song.

Each song (or suite) consists of several fragments that segue so seamlessly you'€™ll lose track.

Musically, Sinestesia is a huge record that zeroes in on Cholil (guitar/vocals), Adrian and Akbar'€™s (drums) maximalist tendencies, previously nodded to with their side project Pandai Besi.

Biru (Blue), consisting of songs '€œPasar Bisa Diciptakan'€ (Markets Can Be Created) and '€œCipta Bisa Dipasarkan'€ (Creations Can Be Marketed), boasts Efek Rumah Kaca'€™s signature rock sounds with tribal vocals, noise guitars and furious lyrics.

Elsewhere on the album, any traces of Efek Rumah Kaca swerve onto a darker, stylistically ambitious trajectory. Jingga (Orange) '€” consisting of '€œHilang'€ (Vanish), '€œNyala Tak Terperi'€ (Unrelenting Fire) and the instrumental '€œCahaya, Ayo Berdansa'€ (Light, Let'€™s Dance) '€” seizes you with its post-rock repetitive guitar before bowing down to a solemn dirge sung by Adrian.

Merah (Red) '€” consisting of '€œIlmu Politik'€ (Political Studies), '€œLara Dimana-mana'€ (Suffering Everywhere) and '€œAda-ada Saja'€ (Ridiculous); and Hijau (Green), consisting of '€œKeracunan Omong Kosong'€ (Poisoned by Lies) and '€œCara Pengolahan Sampah'€ (Garbage Management), also boast beautiful experimental compositions; the former having a Middle-Eastern tone to it.

And then behold: Putih (White), consisting of '€œTiada'€ (Non-existent) and '€œAda'€ (Existent). This is a song whose sincerity triumphs over its size. Cholil'€™s shattering falsetto cuts through among swaying piano and eerie backing vocals. This is the band'€™s best song.

But it wouldn'€™t be an Efek Rumah Kaca record without Cholil and Adrian'€™s lyrics. It'€™s unfair to nitpick at everything out of context, but there are themes running through this record: a careful but snarky look at politics, some very personal stories, run-ins with death and an optimism emanating from that. Their lyrics waste no time just being pretty.

After a seven-year hiatus, the band has broken its silence with its loudest statement to date. It'€™s a classic record through and through, because it demands your attention and sure as hell deserves it. I don'€™t know what the future holds for this fine collection, but to me, it'€™s perfect, and I hope it is to you too.

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