Delhi-based rock outfit Mocaine has released ‘The Birth of Billy Munro’, its maiden full length concept album which reportedly is the stepping stone to introducing the Billy Munro Universe. The album is to be succeeded by a similarly named novella and a short film. Helmsman Amrit Mohan says that this concept album found its genesis as he wanted to build a soundtrack around a narrative he had in mind centering the author Billy and issues of mental health.
The 11-track album is an immersive experience as the listener is completely hooked to the explosive yet ominous environment that is painted from the get go. The 44 minutes of the album’s play time features 8 songs and 9 skits, all chronicling the story of Billy Munro, a man ardently and furiously travelling all throughout Southern America disheartened over the death of his newly wed wife. His impassioned charge through the southern states gives us a glimpse at his struggle dealing with various emotions of anger, repentance and denial as he has to come to terms with death and circle of life. The novella also gives us a simultaneous account of the Author who gets increasingly immersed with the fate of his character and the various issues that he has to deal with while struggling to complete his story. This dark and gritty narrative is quite exquisitely complimented by the music and the vocals which accurately sets the tone for the story to progress in the spirit that it was intended.
Mohan, along with bassist Kabir Agarwal, drummer Varun Sood and producer Aman Arakh, drew his inspiration from the Seattle soundscape in the 90s while creating the musical background for this album. It is a rich and hearty blend of rock, grunge and blues along with the ingenuity of the individual members associated with the creation of the album. Keeping true to the spirit of a concept album, the tracks on this album also seamlessly transition onto the next. The progression of tracks heightens the sense of urgency and tension as the character has to deal with his rollercoaster of emotions and the listener can accurately experience this courtesy the meticulously paced musical background plush with hard hitting riffs and a reciprocal drum layout, skillfully reminiscent of the American rock soundscape of the 90s. Mohan’s penchant for the grunge-blues genre has been quite apparent since the release of his 5-track EP ‘Portrait of Dali’ back in 2018. Since then, Mocaine has seen a steady rise in recognition and relevance in the industry, subsequently being selected as one of the Top 24 musicians for Nexa Music by A.R Rahman in 2019.
Mohan named ‘The Death of Bunny Munroe’, a novel authored by Nick Cave as his biggest source of inspiration while in the creative stages of this album. Mocaine’s album is an accurate representation of the unexplored potential of indie artists and bands and their ability to put forth work nothing short of a masterpiece. As regards to the future of the band, Mohan is quite keen on introducing the subsequent steps of his Billy Munro universe to the world.