Record Label: VIP Records
Release Date: October 2006
No Of Tracks: 10
You know how before I get into every review I give a short brief introduction about the artist, there past achievements, there past hits or a brief history, I think If I done this right now I’ll be here all day, so to put it briefly, K.S Bhamrah is the cornerstone of UK Bhangra, and it is due to individuals such as him and many others during the 80’s and early 90’s to why Bhangra is now ever so popular. To sum it up this guy is an absolute legend to all Bhangra fans, and the fact he is still around today is a tribute to his talents.
The guy with the biggest smile in the Bhangra industry has teamed up with the ever impressive VIP records, to give us ‘The Return’. However K.S Bhamrah is no stranger to solo albums, his ‘Overdrive’ album in 1992 was a massive hit and has become a cult favourite among Bhangra enthusiasts.
VIP Records has turned into a well oiled Bhangra machine, churning out an endless line of quality releases, this being its fourth already this year, and we still have 3 months left of this year. This Scottish quintet of DJ VIPs, DJ Kunal, Ryan Singh and Saq are on the production duties, which judging from there previous songs should be something to look forward to! The video to the album has been doing the rounds on your usual stations for quite sometime now which as ever coupled with your usual delays helped the anticipation slowly build.
Fresh from producing cuts from his album ‘Dholicious’, Ryan Singh the talented percussionist from Scotland is on hand to produce ‘Tappe’. The track features the vocal talents of Indian female singer, Sazi who has her own solo album out on VIP Records next year. Onto the track, its straight up traditional, dripping with Ryan’s percussion skills. Bhamrah’s vocals sound excellent, much what I’d expected, unlike his daari, his voice has not showed any sign of ageing at all! Im pleasantly surprised by Sazi’s vocals, they compliment the voice Bhamrah’s perfectly. For me the track is a little short at just over 3.11, but nevertheless it’s a great song.
‘Pyar Bina’ has been produced by DJ VIPs, and this is your standard VIP camp produced track. Bhamrahs vocals excel, giving his usual effortless performance. However on the production, I believe DJ VIPs has to stop using that damn flute on tracks, it’s been over used, and whenever I hear it I cringe. Please DJ VIPS, delete it from your sample list!!!
K.S Bhamrah shows his lethal side here, on ‘Dushman’, once again this is produced by DJ VIPs who does a good job on the production, however it’s the vocals and lyrics by Bhamrah that ultimately steal the show. I love the lyrics on this track, written by Bhamrah himself, they are raw! Maybe his massive smile is a little deceiving! One of my favourites off the album, although the production once again feels as though its come straight off the VIP production line of reused beats.
Sazi returns to accompany K.S Bhamrah on another tune, this time ‘Tere Naal’, I think the use of Sazi on this album has been a great idea. This is one of my favourite tracks off the album, the production by VIPS this time is very different and Im glad of that! The music on this song is brilliant, especially the use of the sarangi and the flute. It’s a brilliant song, yes it’s no kawan, but nothing is, this song works so well. Maybe a whole album dedicated to K.S Bhamrah and Sazi duets won’t be such a bad idea?
DJ Kunal makes his first appearance on the album; he has his own mix-tape coming out soon on VIP Records. If I had to describe ‘Bhabi’ in one word it would be, Funky! From what I’ve heard from DJ Kunal he doesn’t do things by the VIP manual, so his sound is totally distinctive, which is great to see. I mean who would want an album sounding the same? The song works really well, and the sound that Kunal creates really goes with the vocals of Bhamrah. The use of the vaja and flute during the little intervals is a great piece of production. It’s nice to see that the guys from VIP can switch up there style once in a while.
Is it Punjabian De Naal, is it Tarrak Tarhi? No No its ‘Punjab Bellio’, that distinctive DJ VIPS dhol intro is put to use here. Bhamrah’s vocals sound excellent on this song, clear concise and powerful! The make up of the song is much like previous efforts by VIPS, it does the job so to speak, although anyone else’s vocals on this song and it would have been just a filler. I can’t stop myself singing along to it though, so it must be doing something right!
The ‘Bhamrah Boliyan’ is next up and it features the vocal talents of Sazi once again singing along K.S Bhamrah. The track has been produced by DJ Kunal, who much like his previous efforts does a good job, changing his style, but still keeping the desi element in there. However the thing I wanted to point out the most is the lyrics on this song, I believe Bhamrah wrote it himself, and it shows. The tongue ’n’ cheek lyrics make this song what it is. Although not wanting to spoil it for you, ill give you my personal favourite line: “Balle balle ni junkfood khana shadh deh , Kalah saag teh maki di roti, jeh houna ni moti” Listen to the wise words of K.S Bhamrah girls!
Track 8 is produced by Ryan Singh ‘Ke Hogay’. The production is nothing out of the ordinary although it does enough to keep me interested throughout the song. Although the vocals are as they have been throughout the album, spotless. It’s a good song, but much like the rest of the album the production just sounds churned out using the same styles, nothing is sounding fresh ,which is a shame as they let down the excellent vocals.
Before the album the one track I could say I was looking forward to the most was this one, as Saq has produced it His last effort from Pure Desi Vol 1 ‘Tarrak Tarhi’ was one track which I still rinse today. So ‘Tamana’ is his one effort on this album. That damn flute sample is once again used! However not getting away from the song, the production is solid, although if you told me DJ VIPs or Ryan Singh had produced this I wouldn’t argue. The drop into the chorus really makes the song. The lyrics used by Bhamrah are really different, I love the way throughout this album he has sung about different things, not your usual Kuriye & daru business!
The last song on this album is ‘Ghar Aja Soneya’ and im glad to see it features Sazi once again. The song has been produced by DJ Kunal, and its totally different from his previous efforts. This a slow mellow number and I love it! I mentioned earlier the idea of a duet album for Sazi & K.S Bhamrah; this has strengthened my view further. K.S Bhamrah once again shows why he’s been around so long, he can change his style so effortlessly throughout songs, and his vocals feel comfortable singing any type of song. It’s a great way to end the album.
I feel this is a great comeback album for K.S Bhamrah, on this album there are 10 Solid tracks, and all of them keep it to the roots of Bhangra i.e no unwarranted mc-ing. That is one of the reasons that I have been a great fan of VIP Records, they are clued on about what the public wants in a Bhangra product. However I fear they may be falling into the same trap that befell Untouchablesuk a few years back. They are in serious danger of bringing out albums that simply sound the same. If I had no track-listing for this album, I wouldn’t know what a Ryan Singh song was, or what a Saq or DJ VIPs song was, as they sound so similar. The only highlight is DJ Kunal, who really offers the listener an alternative sound to listen to. I personally would love to hear more of the duets with Sazi and K.S Bhamrah, maybe its already in the pipeline? Don’t get me wrong, none of the songs are actually bad, they all sound great, but then most of them have followed the same pattern, samples, chords, bar Kunals tracks nothing sounds remotely fresh. It’s great to see Bhamrah back at his best, it’s a solid release, but by no means is it a classic.
K.S Bhamrah - The Return gets
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