Alms for Shanti

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Kashmakash Review

by Stewart Mason

Perhaps the closest comparison for Alms for Shanti is "what Cornershop might have sounded like if they had been based in Delhi, instead of East London"; although this group is based in New York, its leaders, Jayesh Gandhi and Uday Benegal, are two of India's most popular rock musicians through their former band, Indus Creed, and like Cornershop (and before them, Sheila Chandra's-'80s project Monsoon), Alms for Shanti are conspicuously trying to meld Indian pop and classical elements with western rock forms. They're less spiky and, it must be said, less interesting than either Cornershop or Monsoon; at times, Kashmakash sounds too much like the sort of "A Beginner's Guide to Bhangra" club mixes that have infiltrated dance clubs since the success of Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On," mixed with equally uninspired rock. The best tracks, like the punningly-titled "Superbol" (available in two mixes) meld the two forms in interesting and exciting ways, but a lot of this album is worldbeat Muzak.

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