The Jhai Alai [Straits Records]

The Jhai Alai is another great band that has disbanded. But thank goodness these guys left us with an awesome CD. Recorded back in July 1999, the CD only saw light late last year.

The foursome consisting of Arvind on vocals, Nizam on guitars, Yamani on bass and Ronny on drums, serve up ten songs of some awesome emocore. The emotional intensity of this band is simply amazing.

The band's music at times, switches from melodic and shimmering guitar sounds, to pounding drums and distorted guitar, forming an oddly messy yet organised sound. A nice style the band has adopted is having the vocalist switch from long to short sentences, Arvind's screeching vocals, at times duelling with a hypnotic talking in the background, form one of the most cathartic music that I have ever heard.

The band has slipped in various voice recordings that seem to come from a talk show. In one of the most emotional ones the mother of a socially discriminated kid speaks out, 'Those kids they don't care what colour she is, it is only their parents and ignorant people that teach them to hate.' The upfront manner, in which The Jhai Alai has presented their music and lyrics, is like stuffing harsh reality into your face. But to know reality is all so comforting.

The music seems to be powered by a great desperation piled up in this four musicians. As you listen to the album you can sense their desperate need for a release of their piled up emotions. In 'And They Quickly Stay' Arvind calls out 'Emotional dilemmas, shattered you insane and yet you still yearn to cry.'

Perhaps, if you have yet to find a form of release from your desperate and troubled soul, then perhaps The Jhai Alai might just do it for you as it did for me. - Tan Weiming

For more... email with the message, "Put me on your mailing list."