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Manooghi Hi — Silence
((Not on label) no#, 2011, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2011-06-01

Silence Cover artManooghi Hi are nothing if not ambitious, at least when it comes to sound. Every track on their second CD features lush arrangements, intense singing, and a full complement of rhythm from the bass and drum kit to layers of percussion. There are some quieter moments, generally at the starts of songs, but these moments mainly serve to lead us into much bigger things. The lead-off track gives us a quick rhythm on tablas and a tongue-twisting chant from the mixed male and female vocals, before taking us into an Indo-techno dance romp punctuated by some big rock guitars and blazing organ. The stunning vocals of Mehnaz Hoosein soar above it all, conveying emotion and soul regardless of what language she sings in. The second track brings out one of the band's most striking characteristics: their theatricality. A breathy, sensitive Mehnaz backed only by a piano eases us in, and over the next three minutes, backing vocals, acoustic guitar, and harmonium gradually drive us to a soft chord of suspended beauty. Then a big guitar riff introduces the song's coda, a joyous rhythmic catharsis of spiritual release. These elements – the soaring melodies, the rocking guitars, the propulsive percussion, and the massively harmonized backing vocals – figure in varying mixes in all of the songs. For their epic version of "Kashmir," backing vocalist Ava Chakravarti steps into the spotlight, taking Led Zeppelin's classic into another realm with layers of keyboards, backing vocals and multiple guitar parts. Highly recommended.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2011 releases

Related artist(s): Manooghi Hi

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