Vikings are a familiar name to the avid follower of the country's contemporary music scene, or at least they used to be. Winner of the Star Search in 1999, the first Bangladeshi version of 'battle of the bands', they found their place in young listeners' hearts with their debut album “Jiboner Kolahol”. After a second album “Din Joto Dukkho Toto” in 2002, the band sort of vanished, only to resurface ten years later, announcing a new project in December 2012. The album -- essentially the soundtrack of the film “Runout” directed by the band's front-man Tonmoy Tansen, released ahead of Eid, and makes for some very good listening.
The album opens with a guitar-plucked intro, fast-panning through the ears for an eerie effect. “Opekkha” builds up slowly, before bursting into an energetic chorus. Tonmoy's voice gets into gear in the second chorus after another subdued verse, followed by an authoritative guitar solo, setting up the album nicely. The familiar verse-chorus-verse-chorus-interlude-chorus works excellent, with a neat piece of bass-wok by Jony.
While “Opekkha” is miles away from sounding like a film track, “Jotota Durey” compensates for that, with a soft, melodious keyboard intro. The vocal projection is also more modulated and emotional. Babu on keys is the man-in-charge on the track, with the others complementing him well. Saimon's versatility behind the kit also shows on the track.
“Janala Khule Dao” is the first of the two duets of the album, with Kona lending her voice on this one. The chorus, sung in unison by Kona and Setu, sets the romantic tone, although Kona's voice in her solo parts sounds more expressive, and gets lost behind his male counterpart's in the chorus. Another version of the song is added as a 'bonus' track at the end of the album, which Setu sings himself to a keys-and-shakers track, bringing in a nice falsetto in places.
“Elomelo (Kromosho)” brings the album back to gear, with a grungy, riffy intro, before Tonmoy throws in the lyrics in a brooding, coarse voice. The song pumps in guitar and drums work throughout, with bass and keys solos in between. Despite being nearly eight minutes in duration, the song does not get boring, with superb transitions. The angst-ridden lyrics is also possibly the best of the lot; overall, one of the standouts of the album.
“Ekbar Bolo” dials down all the energetic build-up in a sombre intro, with guest vocal Rinty singing the first verse. The vocals are at the fore of this song, with Tonmoy joining in. Rinty, however, fails to live up to the lyrics and arrangement, and sounds kind of feeble. This song also has a solo version as a bonus track, with a strumming acoustic guitar in the background. The bonus version actually sounds quite better.
“Opekkha (Dwitiyo Porbo)” the final track of the album, is an absolute gem of a rock ballad. Oozing feel in every second, not a single element on the track is overdone, and once more it's the lyrics that pack the strongest punch. Tonmoy's voice is almost Mizan-like (Warfaze), and the best of bands of the country would be proud of this number. The chaotically-melodious final part of the song continues to linger even after it's over.
In terms of sound engineering, the entire album is spot-on. Lyrics have always been Vikings' strength, and they played to it brilliantly. If it were not film soundtracks, the female vocals would probably not be needed to be called on, who really don't add a lot to it. Most importantly, the album does what any film soundtrack album should do; it creates
interest about the film.
Laser Vision has marketed the album.