Record Label: Kamlee/Moviebox
Release Date: FEBRUARY 2007
No Of Tracks: 14 + 4 skits
DCS have been a band longer than I have been alive, that says it all doesn’t it? For a band to have been consistently at the higher echelons of the Bhangra market for over 24 years goes a long way in proving there undoubted talent. A group of individuals who are currently the best live band on the scene, and probably one of the best ever. With the vocals of Shin who now takes his place as one of the best British born punjabi vocalists of all time, alongside the actual band who together can play more instruments than I’ve had round rotiya. There importance to the survival of the live band scene has been unquestioned, and as live bands are making a come back in Bhangra, DCS have made there own comeback. 8 years after the superb ‘Punjabi Dance Nation’ DCS are back to give us this; "Desi Culture Shock".
The album contains a massive 14 tracks with special appearances from the likes of Juggy D and Jaspinder Narula. A double CD album, and you even get a poster of DCS…. I bet girls up and down the country will be sticking that on there walls! Anyway enough of poking fun, will DCS prove that they are like fine wine, getting better with age, or is this just another cliché comeback? Read on to find out!
Track one, now this is something you’ve all probably heard before, although it’s the little 35 second intro to the main track that follows. It’s a nice little touch to the song and it’s a good thing they made it separate to the actual song, don’t you just hate it when you have to forward a song to get to the actual song? Or is that just me...
Now onto the song which has been pushing this album on our TV screens, ‘Oh Jaan Meri Ya’ and it features Shin collaborating with Mr Doh Point Noh; Juggy D. So think back to Sukshinder Shinda’s Collaborations, Shin’s track ‘Kurhi Akhiyan Nall’, I called it bubblegum Bhangra, and this is exactly what I’m going to call this song. Bubblegum Bhangra. Is it a bad song? Actually it’s very catchy and I found myself growing accustomed to it the more times I listened to it. It’s a nice catchy upbeat Bhangra tune which will appeal to the masses, but I cant help thinking how it would have sounded if they went all out on a hardcore dhol dripping Boliyan laced Bhangra tune… ah if only! Juggy D’s vocals sound on another level to what I’ve heard him before, and it just shows, singing with greats the talent does rub off! Definitely a song that’s going to appeal to the masses, maybe that’s what DCS were hoping for here, for those expecting a Tenu Kaul Ke-esque track that your in for a rude awakening!
Next up is ‘Pilade Pilade’, and before you all think heres the cliché drinking tune..it actually isn’t..that comes later! Pilade Pilade is one of my favourites off the album, the Quwali vibe to the track really grows on you, and it’s another song you can listen again without you wanting to stab your ear drums. The instrumentation on this song is a real testament to the skills of the DCS band players, you can really tell everything was indeed played for this song, and not reused loops from CD’s. A great song, not a bad word to say about it really, Shin excels!
The next song is defiantly one for the people who like there slow songs; this is probably the best you’d hear all year... ’Rab Ni Banaiyan’. The songer is another duet and sees Shin team up with a female vocalist by the name of Dipalee Somaiya, who does a good job in carrying the song. The tune itself is a remake of a hindi from a film of the same title, that’s as far as my bollywood knowledge stretches!
The first of four skits is next, and the one that has been the popular of the four, ‘If your Punjabi’. Its funny yeah, I cant really describe it, but its up there with the older DCS skits!
‘Dhamak’ sees a return to the songs, and this another funky number by the DCS guys, a massive fusion of great sounds, dhols, guitars, it’s just a great piece of music! Something that you don’t often get enough these days, as everything is based around loops, reused sounds and mashed together to create a mess…this is something that is definitely not a mess!
The mood is toned down once again with another slow number ‘Adhi Raatin’ its another solid tune, not up there with Rab ni banaiyan, I’m still waiting for the hard hitting dhol track…..
‘Manja Sohniye’ is next, and much like Dhamak it’s another well made upbeat Bhangra track with a great use of instrumentation, however it lacks the killer instinct or the finishing touch to really make it a great song.
Skit number 2 is next, titled ‘Roti’ and this time its Shin singing about how much his yearnin for a good roti….well I guess we all have our cravings..
‘Tere Surman’ features the rapper Shorty, who is usually seen with Dr Zeus. Now this is one song that has confused me a little bit. The beat to the song is identical to a song released a few years back by an artist called Sam Singh; however the inlay credits someone else for the backing track. Strange but I’m sure there’s a good enough explanation to it. The song is another slow number, and it works well especially with Shorty, who is one of the few rappers able to improve a song in the Bhangra industry. But with all the talent available to DCS, the decision to sample the beat is beyond me.
The last track on CD 1 is another uplifting number, ‘Nach Lain De’ and much like the songs before it, Manja Sohniye and Dhamak, it’s a solid song however it lacks any sort of real killer touch. It’s a well made song, and musically it’s great, you can hear the element of live music in it, which is fantastic, however does it set itself out from anything else on cd 1? Not really.
CD 2 Kicks off with another intro for a song, much like O Jaan Meri Ya, however this intro is much longer, at just over 1 minute 14 seconds, and long a winding…but its builds up to one of the best tracks off the album…
‘Japhiyan’ is what I’ve been waiting; well it goes someway in making up for the lacklustre first CD. Iv stressed throughout the whole review how refreshing the music is on this album, and its evident here once again, I mean wouldn’t it be brilliant if every album sounded as good as this? Who needs a loop CD when you can get it sounding like this? A Brilliant song.
The last of the duets, and this time it sees Shin duet with legendary Punjabi female vocalist Jaspinder Narula on ‘Ma Ik Punjabi’, much like Japhiyan it is better than anything that was on CD 1. The duet works great especially with the superb vocals of Jaspinder Narula, who is woefully under-represented in the UK Bhangra scene. It’s another great song..
Skit number 3 is next and it’s the ‘Babaji skit’, its easily the best skit off the album, I wont ruin it for you, just listen!
Back onto the music and ‘Jee Nai Sakde’ its another well made song, but once again it really does lack any sort of killer instinct, it may appeal to hardcore DCS fans, but for me its just another song…
A remix is next and its ‘Tere Surmen (Seduction mix)’, it keeps the same deep bass line as on the original on CD 1, ill leave the sampling question out of this one. This version I prefer to the original, it’s much more subtle without the use of the rapper.
A 3 minute musical piece is next titled ‘Bride and Groom march’, well its pretty self explanatory I think.
A soulful guitar brings in ‘Tere Nain Nashile’, the song itself keeps the guitar elements throughout the song, and it works very well. The random mc-ing or if that’s what you can call it is pretty pointless, although it doesn’t take away from the song, it’s a pretty catchy tune, however much like a lot of everything else before I ask myself does it have that extra something to grant a rewind? And the answer is not really.
The last skit is up next titled ‘DCS on the Ipod – Skit’, I’m not sure how to some this one up without sounding really harsh. Ok let me have ago… just skip it.
A deep catchy bassline brings in the best track from both CD’s. I complained earlier of most of the songs lacking certain something to demand a rewind; I can assure you ‘Bothle Sharab Diyan’ is something you just have to listen to again. Don’t be fooled by the title of the song, it’s not your token song about drinking and getting pissed. Musically and lyrically this is a class above the rest and the only song off both CD’s that really had me hammering the repeat button. A great way to finish off the second CD, you finish the album on a high.
So there it is, a mammoth 2 CD’s, 14 songs, 4 skits, 2 intros and a musical piece later and the album is complete. So when I heard DCS were bringing out a brand new double CD album, I put my order down straight away, the £11.99 price didn’t tag didn’t phase me as I was getting a massive album. The question is, after listening to it would I still go back and pay the £11.99. Well yes and no. This isn’t what I expected from the album at all, I was expecting a real Bhangra album, what I go was something completely different. I think a lot of us were expecting a Bhangra album filled with hard hitting dhol laced Boliyan, but none were to be found. Now don’t get me wrong, it sounded as fresh as ever, musically they did a great job but how many of these songs could I listen to again? Out of 14 I can probably count them all on my one hand. The songs are good, no song is horribly bad, but no song is excellent. Every single song shows a depth of production and musical arrangements that most producers would envy, but no song goes far enough in standing out from the rest. I feel a little short changed by it, without sounding too critical this sounds like a watered down Bhangra album. Its hard to explain this album completely, DCS are legends in the Bhangra scene, but this album was indeed a big shock to my system, if that’s the effect they wanted then they achieved it! Let’s just hope they don’t keep us waiting so long for the next instalment…
DCS – Desi Culture Shock gets a 6.5/10