Love. Heartbreak. Mental health. “30th of February”, Akshit Dhall’s debut EP touches upon all these topics, mainly concerning the young generation of today. The EP revolves around the life experiences of a young teenager. Akshit Dhall is an independent singer-songwriter based out of Pune. At the core of his music and songwriting process, remains the fundamental idea of narrating a powerful story that resonates with his audience. Smooth guitar licks, sweet harmonies, gentle hummings and simple songwriting are what define this album. The lyrics are particularly interesting, and upon careful listening, one can find hidden themes and twists and turns along the way. The backing vocals in some of the tracks were lent by Kashmira Khot. Akshit Dhall, through his music also tries to address the prominent issues of today, such as the rights of the LGBTQ community, domestic violence and mental health issues among the youngsters.
The first track from the EP, ‘The Night’ may seem like a simple love story, but it’s not. There’s a surprise that awaits the listener towards the end of the song. The song entails simple guitar strumming, with some sweet and melodious tunes. ‘Coffee’ is a particularly heartwarming track, and it is written from a perspective of a lesbian character. Akshit sheds some light on the songwriting process of this song. “I wrote this song in a café in Ahmedabad when I was on my first India tour in 2019. Coffee is a song about a lesbian woman who is always told by the society that she cannot love a woman. But still, she dreams of the day when she can openly be with whoever she wants to be with.” The song also empowers us to enjoy our own company, while searching for our significant other.
‘Heartbeat’ seems like a happy and cheerful song at the first go, but one can find darker undertones on a deeper listen, signifying loss, pain and hurt. In fact, the song talks about mental health problems caused due to sexual harassment, which is not very evident lyrically or even sonically. Akshit’s vocalizing in the chorus is soothing and mesmerizing. The entire song rests on a simple guitar picking technique, with basic chord progressions. ‘Apart’ seems to portray the complexities of long-distance relationships, having a sing-along vibe and a catchy beat to it.
’30th of February’ is a sweet ballad, with references to the times where we believed every relationship will last forever. The innocence of high school love is depicted beautifully through this track. The last track of the EP “I’ll Be Famous One Day”, is a hopeful track, and is an inspiration for all the independent artists out there. It’s an upbeat track, with some soulful harmonies and an enchanting guitar solo, reminding us that despite what people say, we must follow our heart always.
Overall, 30th of February, is an emotional ride of love, heartbreak, longing and pain and sprinkles some nostalgic vibes here and there. It is a great listen for those who look for the best of both worlds, soft, mellow tunes along with lyrics infused with deeper connotations. This album has the capability to move our hearts and remind us that despite all the heartbreaks, failures and pain, hope and love can still triumph above all.