‘Little Boat’ by Ajay Mathur – Review
Two years after receiving a Grammy nomination for ‘Best Rock Song,’ Ajay Mathur is back with his recently released album Little Boat. With Little Boat, the Indian born, American rock influenced Swiss resident takes his world music influences and weaves in his life experiences of facing adversity and emerging stronger and wiser.
So what do you get when you combine pop, rock, American Roots and traditional Indian instruments? Well, let’s take a ride on Mathur’s Little Boat and find out. The album opens with “Here’s The Love,” a vocally centric tune where the message is clearly laid out in the lyrics. I once interviewed a band leader, who in talking about his lead singer, mentioned how clearly you could understand each word he sang. Mathur is one of those singers. His lyrics have meaning and he is intent on having you hear them. The tune is roots based with a huge pop chorus.
“Forget About Yesterday” breaks open with a “Willie And The Hand Jive” type beat. It has a very fun mix of instruments, with great percussion and pulls in both Eastern and Western influences. Wildly upbeat in both message and tempo.
“Start Living Again” brings down the beat as well as the message. A broken heart is the message this time and Mathur hits the subject straight on. Again, a huge chorus comes into play, but this time there’s a little too much production. The easy feeling that began “Start Living Again” gets lost in the heavy blend of instruments and background vocals.
“Little Boat” like many of the songs on the album is a song of resilience. Complete with crashing waves, “Little Boat” fully takes the allegory of withstanding the storms of life to the max. The music is both mournful and hopeful, the lyrics are too. Its strength is the balance between the two.
The acoustic guitar opening of “My Wallet Is A House Of Cards” quickly gives way to fast and loud electric riffs. It’s frenzied and sets up Mathur’s grittiest vocal on the album. The song rocks hard and shows yet another side of Mathur’s music.
Mathur spins us around again with “Who’s Sorry Now.” Middle Eastern influences are front and center but the meld of east and west is a little uneven. The two influences at times are compatible, but at others they seem to fight for recognition.
“Time For Deliverance” is a beautifully crafted tune. This time Mathur pulls in some R&B and jazz influences, weaving a soulful sax with backing vocals. Both play off his clear and straightforward vocals. The song fulfills the theme of Little Boat, “It’s time for my deliverance, I ain’t giving up on love.” Very nicely done.
Little Boat has a little something for everyone. It also may have not enough for everyone. There are a few standout songs and a few mediocre ones. There’s no questioning Mathur’s musicianship or songwriting. A little heavy on the production at times, places where stripped down might be better, but overall Little Boat is a nice ride.
Review by Kath Galasso @KatsTheory
Ajay Mathur website
Ajay Mathur facebook
Little Boat on Spotify
- Here’s the Love
- Forget About Yesterday
- Start Living Again
- Grooving in Paris (All My Choices)
- Little Boat
- There We Are (Do It Right or Not at All)
- My Wallet Is a House of Cards
- Ordinary Memory
- While I’m Still Standing Here
- All Your Thoughts
- Who’s Sorry Now
- Time for Deliverance
- Kartehuus (My Wallet Is a House of Cards)