If there’s one act that can be credited for bringing the Blues to the mainstream in India, it’s Warren Mendonsa‘s Blackstratblues. Mendonsa, who has established himself as one of India’s finest musicians, is back with his newest LP, The Universe Has a Strange Sense of Humour. And are we glad!
The album starts off on a high note with Renaissance Mission, which is undoubtedly one of its highlights. In fact, it might just feature one of the best basslines in Mendonsa’s entire catalogue. If you’ve listened to even a few of his tracks, you know that’s saying a lot!
Folkish Three is another one of the album’s most memorable tracks. With a solo that flows as smoothly as a stream, this is the perfect track to showcase what makes Warren a present-day legend. Another addition to the list of his modern classics is Anandamide, which is named after the neurotransmitter of the same name. Funnily enough, the track invokes the feeling of pure bliss and ananda that the chemical is named after!
It’s no surprise that Mendonsa’s breathtaking solos are some of his best so far. Every track on the album, including and especially Little Rascal, serves as proof of Mendonsa’s guitar prowess. The ease with which each note flows is rare and worth treasuring. Combine this with his inclusion of traditional Indian percussion, and you have songs that make it hard not to press replay!
Backed by equally talented musicians, Mendonsa has treated us to an album with a rhythm section that is par excellence. Drummer Jai Row Kavi, in particular, deserves a special round of applause for his work on the album.
The Universe Has a Strange Sense of Humour does a lot more than beautifully blend all these musicians’ parts, though. Upon listening to it a few times (and it’ll be hard not to do that), you’ll find that the tracks also incorporate words by people who have inspired Mendonsa. This includes, but isn’t limited to, Mahatma Gandhi and Frank Zappa!
All in all, The Universe Has a Strange Sense of Humour is one of the finest Blues releases to come along in a while. Though it isn’t perfect, it’s certainly an album that deserves a listen. And listening to it just once is nearly impossible! So, what are you waiting for? Plug in your headphones and press play!