Manipuri Rock Act Meewakching’s Debut Album, A Concoction Of Neo-Psychedelia
Manipur-based neo-psychedelic post-punk rock band Meewakching have introduced the world to their latest and debut full-length album titled ‘Thengmankhre Hee Ado Lakpa, Eikhoidi Sikhiba Kuire Erolnungda’. Featuring 10 tracks that the band uses to re-establish the connection the audience had to the golden era of rock music, sprinkling in some of their personal concoctions, that both serve as a callback to the feel-good tunes of yesteryear and a fresh outlook on the genre’s way forward. The band features Silheiba Ningombam on vocals and guitar, Sanahal Phairenjam on the keyboards and adding backing vocals, Dingku Sorokhaibam on the guitar, Ronald Sorokhaibam manning the drums and Swami Laimayum on the bass.
Formed back in 2019, Meewakching immediately grasped the attention of the general public at cafes and festivals of their hometown owing to their impressive command as a live act. Their first EP saw the light of day in 2020 after the inevitable delay due to the COVID pandemic, after which the band started noticing a growing fanbase within and outside their home state despite the language barrier of their tracks.
The unusually long title for this album translates to ‘It was too late for the boat to arrive, we were dead long ago underneath the lake’, which seems to be a hint to the ominous and thought-provoking side but according to the members the translation isn’t set in stone but is up to the audience to interpret according to their own experience of the album. Keeping with their origins, all the tracks are written in Manipuri except one – ‘How I Wish to be Back to You’, the band’s first song written in English. The track features a tonality which is slightly different from the other tracks, reportedly a stepping stone for the band to experiment with different musical elements and sounds and venturing into releasing more of their material in English for upcoming EPs and albums. The band explores an eclectic bevy of emotions, thoughts and general outlook on life with their latest album. The tracks are set up to be evocative and help the audience tap into their lesser explored emotions and feelings. Ranging from themes of love and loss to fear and impermanence, the 10 tracks in the album seem like a shifting kaleidoscope of emotions that surpass the threshold of spoken language.
Such a task is quite masterfully handled by the band, with each member showcasing their proficiency and ability to coalesce their individual skills to birth a series of beautiful tracks that are easy on the ear yet throw an impactful and evocative punch. Although the soundscape doesn’t feature mind-boggling odd time-signatures or face-melting guitar solos, the overall feel from the album implores a deeper exploration of the sound which uncovers the full range of themes and emotions that the band has attempted to portray. The vocals are soothing yet arresting and the apt usage of various guitar tones, ethereal synth sounds and a steady and complimenting backdrop of drum beats and basslines ensure that the audience is glued to their headphones from start to finish.
Meewakching is an example of how the language of music supersedes the spoken language barrier and brings together enthusiasts of the craft from all over the world. The band’s growing success and acceptance by audience from all over the country and outside serves as a reminder that it is possible for artists and bands from the farthest corners of the country to use their music to break through. It is equally important for us, the fans and enthusiasts, to create a conducive environment for such bands in order to usher in a whole new source of exquisite musical talents that would otherwise be lost to the world of music.