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Kolkata’s Prog-Rock Scene Is Rekindled With Universe In A Crayon’s Killer Debut EP ‘Somewhere in Between’ 

2023 has already been a great year for some refreshing and unique releases. Artists across the country have been experimenting with genres without compromising the quality of the sound. One such band that emerged this year is Universe In A Crayon, an instrumental progressive rock outfit based in Kolkata with guitarists Soumyadeep Deb, Suraj Saha, Anurup Guha Thakurta, drummer/percussionist Rohan Chakraborty and Keyboardist/Pianist Prasenjit Ray. The act focuses on modern guitar-instrumentation.

Drawing their influences from modern prog giants such as Plini and Intervals, evident in their well-composed album, the band lives by the motto for combining heaviness and pleasantness in an interesting mix. They also performed as the supporting act at Jason Richardson X Luke Holland India Tour, at The Abomination 7 and Metamorphosis. 

“The art should be musically soul pleasing and equally heavy at times. The dream is so strong, that it makes us the first band from India to ever front a guitar trio.”  – Universe In A Crayon

‘Somewhere in Between,’ their debut EP released in February takes the listener on a journey somewhere between reality and imagination. The theme and soundscape that the listener traverses through are produced by heavy and groovy guitar riffs interwoven with beautiful melodies and dreamy synths. 

‘Skyline,’ the song that acts as an intro to the album is a liquidy synth with odd-time melodies. It is the perfect introduction to the EP for the listener to get into the mood. It is the beginning of a journey into outer space. The steady melody that slowly evokes the feeling of a journey up high until the massive post-rock outro. The outro, with its heavy guitar riffs, drums, and striking synths is a perfect introduction to the mood of the EP.

For a rock track trying to talk about something so light and delicate, the band has done a great job of conveying the concept. ‘Shooting Star,’ the second track of ‘Somewhere In Between’ is an upbeat track with soaring melodies and sounds that remind you of time travelling. This is the song that helped the band start their journey. They added intricate guitar riffs to redefine this track from the original demo. Its heavy melodies in the beginning paint the visuals of shooting stars falling down the planet. In the middle, however, the track’s melody shifts to a more melodic, dreamy sound which add a nice balance to the track on this track that makes you feel as though you’re floating in the air. The next track ‘Headspace,’ shifts the mood of the EP to a slightly subtle and light atmosphere. It takes you on a journey of emotions like readiness, anger, fear, etc with a varied use of instruments. With its huge chorus and vivid orchestration, you can see why the band claims that this track a fan favourite. The ambient water sounds and crowd murmurs make this the most versatile and sought-after track in the EP. It’s lightness and soft melodies with the orchestral sounds can make anyone fall in love with the genre. Even with such major shifts in the melody of the track, the band has done a good job trying to convey the concept.

The outro, ‘Drive,’ is a massive wall of riffs woven around catchy lines and heavy synths. Featuring Bishwadeep Sikander, this 7-minute track is a banger with a crazy guitar solo showcasing Sikander’s talent. The soaring melodies gives a stunning picturesque view of driving into the horizon after basking in the world in between. The catchy guitar lines, dense orchestration and heavy synths has truly made a mark in the prog -rock scene. Universe In A Crayon has surely set a huge standard for themselves after this EP. Time will tell if the band can make a dent in the music festival circuit.

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