We’re All Desi (Westwood)
By the nature of their creation and obvious from their name, Vancouver’s Delhi 2 Dublin are a fusion band. They were forged at a Celtic fest back in 2006 by Tarun Nayar, Sanjay Seran, and Ravi Binning, channelling Indian bhangra and Irish folk through the medium of EDM. Since then, they have earned a reputation as a kick-ass live act.
Unfortunately, their recordings have never quite captured their exuberant live energy. The instrumentals typically sound rather flat by comparison, and Seran’s vocals can often be oppressively cheesy, in terms of both delivery and content. As a result, the records sound a little one-dimensional.
Delhi 2 Dublin’s fourth album, We’re All Desi, is a clear attempt to push things forward, to unite the act’s live power with a studio sheen. Enlisting the knob-twiddling skills of Nick Middleton (the Funk Hunters) proved to be an inspired decision, as his studio touch has resulted in the most massive and varied beats yet to appear on a D2D record. With its sluggish dub beat, cold bass melody, ambient swirls, nimble acoustic guitar, uplifting violin, and tastefully evolving changes, “Strumph” has Shambhala throw-down written all over it. “I Got to Have It” has a growling Ginuwine R&B vibe, with some choice brass on the hook, while “California” drops in a taste of liquid drum ’n’ bass.
Stylistically, it’s all over the map, but nothing sounds out of place. Delhi 2 Dublin owns it all, with gusto.
Seran’s vocals are still problematic, though.
His words are most effective when they’re twisted, as on the Funk Hunters–assisted “Fool’s Gold”, where they’re filtered and lowered for the hook. We’re All Desi is D2D’s most refined release, a big step forward for the group that is doubtful to alienate any existing fans, but it seems unlikely to convert many new ones.