Review: The Exit Plan – Teddy Boy Kill

Teddy Boy Kill - The Exit PlanWith all the new, modern architectural marvels dotting the Indian landscape, like fancy-shmancy shopping malls with neon night clubs on the top floor, it’s only fitting that the Indian soundscape evolves to reflect its environment. Teddy Boy Kill leaves Talvin Singh sounding like a colonial era courthouse in comparison, and MIDIval PunditZ like the theka on the corner.

This debut album opens impressively with dancefloor anthem ‘Tonic’, instantly reminiscent of Black Strobe and latter-day New Order. Suspenseful crescendos and dominatrix dynamics prompt frenetic body movements. Toymob’s sing-song beat poetry brings back sultry memories of a first lover’s sweet whispered nothings; meanwhile AudioPervert fries up distorted synthesizers like that first rush of pure MDMA fries up brain cells. TBK represents that hazy realm where ravers mingle with hippies in secret fields of universal love. This vibe is epitomized on the second track, ‘Traveling’, a smashing, banging electronic ode to escaping the hustle and bustle of the city, superbly evoking the indomitable tech-soul spirit of Swayzak. I can’t wait to sing along to this song en route to the mountains then carry the torch back to the city with next track, ‘Berliner’.

In fact, these first three tracks are comparable in quality to critically acclaimed output from renown Berlin labels like !K7 and Get Physical. The same combination of hard progressive house anchored by soft, simple melodic vocals is employed as exemplified by folks like Trentemoller and Tiefschwarz. It’s a great formula, and so it’s quite unfortunate when TBK completely abandons it for the rest of the album, veering well off the path to the hilltop rave for extended forays into creepy cesspools of poppy, downtempo electro-funk a la Moloko or even Massive Attack. The duet with female vocals in ‘Trash’ seems like a good idea in theory, but ends up sounding forced and awkward in the mix. Similarly, the Radiohead sample from OK Computer that forms the hook for ‘Subterra’ piques one’s interest on first listen, but on repeated listens, this bluesy snoozer throws up red flags, prompting fast forward. The jazzy pop of ‘Josefina’ swings dangerously close to Justin Timberlake territory, although the Air-like Rhodes doodling towards the end does make an effort at redemption.

However, all is not lost. The synthetic sitars and blippy moog arpeggios of ‘Face the Future’ fuel a moody ambience with soulful vocal harmonizing that is soon crashed into by a funky Fatboy Slim-esque breakbeat, catapulting the song to the status of a hidden track on Moby’s Play. ‘Private Eye’, although similar to ‘Trash’, assimilates a jazz fusion ambiance into a relatively uptempo, electrified Portishead tune with a neo-soul sheen, although the guitar solo does bring us back into the province of AR Rahman, which, if you think about it, is really Phish or Grateful Dead style prog-rock jamming for the digital generation. Finally, album closer ‘Immortal’ is the rare electro-ballad that hits quite a few of the right soft spots, good for spacing out as well as self-contemplation.

TBK have crafted a debut album that touches on diverse styles within the electronica genre, and infused their idiosyncratic perspectives onto them. Occasionally hit, occasionally miss, the TBK sound is undeniably dangerous; be forewarned that this music may incline the listener to commit regrettable actions, like hitting on your best friend’s spouse, or quitting your job to dance your life away.

Indiecision: B

Download: ‘Tonic’ – Teddy Boy Kill
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34 Comments

  • July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    This just about sums it all up. Very accurate review. TBK is a slap across the faces of the so-called “pioneers” of Indian electronica.
    It’s refreshing to read a good review after the trash we’re subject to on a daily basis.

  • July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    the reviews all and all encompassing .. su, ur probably the best music understanding writer in the country .. rockitt !!
    ps .. would your website want to stream our dangerous flippant electro !! our album online is free !!!

  • July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    Exit Plan kicks ass!

  • eshaan
    July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    where do i get my copy?

  • Name
    July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    exit plan is brilliant. midival punditz are mediocre, but talvin singh is in a different leauge altogether. would love to read a review of talvin album by the same writer.

  • July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    Good review. I want to hear it now. Where can I get a copy?

  • Name
    July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    “With all the new, modern architectural marvels dotting the Indian landscape, like fancy-shmancy shopping malls with neon night clubs on the top floor, it’s only fitting that the Indian soundscape evolves to reflect its environment.” is that good or bad? confused

  • July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    What a brilliant Review. I can almost hear it in my head……

  • Su
    July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    @ Name, the architectural reference is positive/negative depending on your own outlook. also i hope to review Talvin Singh live at Ladakh Confluence next month!

  • manthatyoufear
    July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    heard the album, pretty average.. don’t understand what the above review’s really glamorising here.. don’t think the reviewer is hooked on to global electronica … if yes, i’d really like to know which artists has he/she been listening to and benchmarking his/her judgement with.

    purely a review by a new listener… doesn’t amaze the true electronica listener.. stuff like this we heard 7 years back.. well for classic sake, maybe..

  • Name
    July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    cool hopefully you can then further expand on the outrageous comparison and give it a context as well.

  • manthatyoufear
    July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    Exit plan needs a desperate exit

  • July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    Oh that confluence will be fun. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Punditz there…possibly playing a “live set” with a djembe or two to add to that “fusion” feeling.

  • manthatyoufear
    July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    Talvin Singh is a fucking LEGEND..!!!!

    Don’t even bring up his name at here..

    Try picking up his album of 8-10 years ago, still gets all these so called ‘indian electronica’ acts to submit to the earth and bury themselves..

  • musicthatyouhear
    July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    manthatyoufear … u seem jurrasic at best .. must be from that dead ” good for nothing asian chillout muzak era ” .. i know talvin personally and his music is as dead as you !!
    obviously you need your insipid dose of tabla sarangi and alaap ! stupid !!

  • July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    @samratb We’re putting ‘Tonic’ up on our music player soon.

  • manthatyoufear
    July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    http://www.myspace.com/talvinsinghofficial

    There are a few tracks up there you mustn’t have heard.. would like to see you attempt a review Su..

  • manthatyoufear
    July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    musicthatyouhear – nice one..! :)

    The link i posted above – Check out ‘Ashka’ & ‘Kalimbo’ – and these are not even complete tracks yet.. i guess you can ask him yourself about it then..

    You know TS personally !!!!!! Can you please get my TS t-shirt autographed for me, or maybe pawed and ripped by TS…! I believe he’s quite unreachable & arrogant ..!

  • manthatyoufear
    July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    musicthatyouhear = that samratb thing from teddyboykill ?!?!?

  • July 10, 2009 | Permalink |

    ? ACHTUNG !!
    Thank you for all the reactions ( including the sardonic moronic comments of manfear )

    The Exit Plan is currently available for download FREE !! Hires Mp3 at the following :

    ?http://www.last.fm/music/Teddy+boy+kill

    ?www.soundcloud.com/teddyboykill

    ?www.reverbnation.com/teddyboykill

    Physical CD coming soon .. via COUNTER CULTURE RECORDS / EMI

  • mo
    July 14, 2009 | Permalink |

    this guys obviously wouldnt know indian electronica if it bit him in the back side, punditz sound is unique and hello hello is one of the most interesting album ive heard in a while get ur facts right moron tbk doesnt have quater of the stage presence the punditz or talvin do and tbks music is averge u cant even compare it to ts or the punditz couldnt come with an original name of a track could they ( tonic) dont chat shit about what u dont know and will never… try and appreciate talent rather than writting nonsense which no on has time for

  • Mojuba
    July 16, 2009 | Permalink |

    bang on review.. and in my opinion TBK is something that really makes brilliant impact live… and there should be more live improv gigs…
    peace from the dubmonkey

  • Benjamin Klement
    July 16, 2009 | Permalink |

    i saw TBK in New Delhi, together with Mouse On Mars – that was a great nite . Thumbs up for your music! reminds me of underworld, air and kompakt . album is on Last.fm?
    cheers. best wishes

  • Gavin
    July 17, 2009 | Permalink |

    Mo! obviously you HAVE the time for this to have read, analysed, speculated, critiqued and then written a comment :) maybe this was meant just for u then….to add some excitement into your pathetic Midival, Talvin filled life!
    I wonder how much you “know” about electronica. Why don’t you do a monthly column for RS or something and show us all you got! Educate us please!

    Great album guys. It’s what us lesser mortals would actually consider real electronica.
    *kill me*

  • Anirudh Shanbaag
    July 18, 2009 | Permalink |

    congratulations to audiopervert and toymob . the singles on the exit plan sound kickass and groovey . and the downloading access is a bonus. see you guys in bombay

  • ­­­
    July 18, 2009 | Permalink |
  • ninjabilli
    July 19, 2009 | Permalink |

    Great album, I’ve had it on repeat all week (in anticipation for the Psychlorama festival, which I realised was canceled once I arrived at Sapna !@#$% I liked how the organizers just assumed everyone was on facebook). I get a sort of Ladytron + Air feel in some parts of the album. I hope I get to see them next month or whenever the festival actually gets on its way.

  • July 21, 2009 | Permalink |

    Nice to see TBK getting media space.
    And, about time too!
    Great review!!

  • grover
    July 21, 2009 | Permalink |

    totally grooving to TONIC and BERLINER . best of luck and power to TBK on their debut album.

  • August 16, 2009 | Permalink |

    *bump* very nice. i really enjoyed your gig at the roxy some months ago. let me know if you need a drummer anytime – if there’s one thing i do well it’s hang with them programmed beats ;) and s+f, if you happen to read this…

  • March 24, 2010 | Permalink |

    grrrrreat album thanks a lot

  • April 13, 2010 | Permalink |

    really cool great review

  • April 17, 2010 | Permalink |

    very very nice thank you

  • May 3, 2010 | Permalink |

    nice post. thanks a lot for the information

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