Album review by our contributor Bliss
The experienced quartet, Lock Up, is back with their 18th edition, aptly titled Alaivarisai 18, which is an electro-infused dappa kuthu album; it is a must-get if you are an ardent fan of Lock Up or a keen follower of the Mannin Mainthargal scene.
Lock Up is no stranger to the local crowd as the group is one of the pioneers of the local scene. Active in the scene for more than a decade, Lock Up recently tasted success in India by composing the song Ring Ting for the movie Udhayan.
Their latest album, Alaivarisai 18, is divided into three sections, named – Original Store, Memory Store and Movie Store. The Original Store has six new tracks – 1 Malaysia Kuthu, Rojapoo, Electro Futayoo, Tadukkathey, Kallu Mele and Vendam Vanmurai. Meanwhile, Memory Store, as the name suggest, contains three version of the evergreen Kokkorokko song – Kokkorokko 2011, Kokkorokko Original and Kokkorokko 1960s. Finally, the Movie Store consists of Ring Ting, the track from the movie Udhayan.
Over the years, Lock Up has experimented with a range of music, which ranges from dappa kuthu to pop and Alaivarisai 18 is nothing short of this experiment. The first track of their album 1 Malaysia Kuthu featuring Srik from Chennai is a trademark Lock Up song with its catchy lyrics and dappa kuthu flow. Only thing this time around, the song is infused with electro beats. Rojapoo, a love track and Taddukathey, which translates ‘Don’t Stop Me’, are average numbers and easily forgotten. Next, Futayoo, the infectious hit from Lock Up’s previous album, Gua Caya Sama Lu, is remade this time around with an electronic influence and features Ramnath and Illiya Hustlaz. Electro Futayoo will surely get you in a loop as Switch’s trademark electro music is evident in this track. Both Ramnath and Illaiya Hustlaz do justice to this track, as well. Meanwhile, Vendam Vanmurai, which features GP Rajah and MC Daze, is probably the best track in this album. It clearly targets Indian youths with the message: stop violence. Additionally, the electro music gives power to the message. The track Kallu Melle, is a fine example of Lock Up’s creativity, the bilingual (English and Tamil) lyrical content and music gives a cinema feel and this track has the potential to be an infectious hit. If you are looking for the definition of electro dappa kuthu, this track will give you the answer. The three Kokkorokko tracks and Ring Ting speak for themselves and does not need further elaboration.
Alaivarisai 18 is a unique album which deserves recognition as Lock Up has done a good job in marrying two very different genres – electro and dappa kuthu into one sound. Switch’s electro influence is cemented on the tracks and it will be interesting to see how his sound develops with K.U.D.I (a project with Balan Kashmir). Conclusion, this comes to show that when it comes to belting out hit numbers and infectious tracks, Lock Up never fails to disappoint. The only disappointment, if there is any, is the poor album art and lack of promotion on social media.