Manish Kalvakota

Outer Limits

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Outer Limits is a considerable improvement over Kalvakota's previous work on several fronts, including production, consistency, and songwriting. Actually, it's more a duo record than a Kalvakota solo one; producer Charles Douglas, who handles all of the instruments the artist doesn't play, gets a co-credit in the billing. Kalvakota and Douglas wrote all the material together, too, conjuring gauzy indie pop with a wistful psychedelic folk bent. The vocals have a gentle breathiness that emphasis restraint and ambience over passion and bluster. The mood is downbeat, brooding inner-directed rock that's textured but usually has a jangling guitar base, with attractive if not arresting melodies, sometimes like a rather more psychedelic R.E.M. At its slower and less electric moments, it falls closer to Robyn Hitchcock territory, albeit with more earnestness than Hitchcock. In fact "Jubilee Hills," were Kalvakota's Indian influences become more prominent, gets pretty close to a vintage Donovan mood.