Thursday, June 01, 2006

Far From An Answer (2000) – Papas Fritas

Attired in the easy lollop of ‘70s soft rock and early ‘80s FM-lite, yet infused with introspection, “Far From An Answer” roams the realm between Fleetwood Mac and The Alan Parsons Project with aching weariness. In issuing a caveat, Shivika Asthana’s unaffected voice distills a guileless sincerity that aims to disenchant the object of her flirtations, who is only setting himself up for utter disappointment. She is emotionally unavailable, unable to offer a commitment of any substance, making a full disclosure in the interests of disclaiming accountability. Yet, like a grifter falling for her mark, she finds herself strangely losing control of her ability to separate pastime from passion. She realizes that the tables have turned—it’s he who will move on, she who will feel a sense of loss.

Subtly abetted by hints of Fender Rhodes electric piano, feint stabs of organ and traces of dreamy wah-pedal guitar, Asthana’s pleasingly opiate vocals wend over a chord progression evocative of a late-night radio station wind-down, nursing a bottle of cognac beneath dimmed lights, unveiling different layers of emotion with each sip. Bongo drums softly lope off to the side, sprucing up a quasi-disco shuffle anchored by dollops of bass on the downbeat that morph into slippery bobbing and an R&B stomp. An understated guitar solo bides some time on loan from Bread. Shivika “la la la la la”s in nonchalance, accompanying herself in a call-and-response of warnings heretofore dispensed to others that are now hers to heed. What began as diversion has devolved into desire. Her newfound quandary leaves her stranded, with an answer anything but clear.

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