ILA MITRA ‚Äì Satyagraha CD-R
When my band finally played in Singapore for the first time a few months ago, we were picked up from Woodlands’ MRT by Seelan, one of the nicest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure to shake hands with. Young, handsome and fashionably (!) skinny, Seelan runs with the Lion City DIY crew, works with an animal shelter and also plays drums for grindcore mavericks Fallen World.
Along with madman Zai Kuning’s impeccable hosting skills, Seelan and friends made us feel at home in the usually cold and calculating island state. We were wined and dined with stimulating discussions all the way to the wee hours of the morning.
A few days later, his other band Ila Mitra came up north and played Seremban, after which they came over to KL and hung out at my place for a few hours. From the conversations we had throughout the day, I have to say that these guys are one of those rare regional bands that are pretty clued up; a band that have a lot more brains than the average two-bit punk/HC units I have always encounter all these years.
Looking at my own backyard, I see too many bands going through all the “correct” motions but sadly without much substance, all the while asking no questions, let alone examine the much ignored questions that rendered the scene oblivious to the very topics they are singing about. In short, I was suitably refreshed and happy to finally see a bunch of kids that are truly inspired by the whole punk rock thing; not just in its wondrous musical cacophony but the more important matters; the realities that governs our very lives as individuals living a very nasty world and how to deal with it as a good, thinking human beings.
This CD-R here was passed on to me earlier on but I didn’t have the time to really sit and listen proper. I still have tonnes of CDs for me to review but as usual I don’t like to do a two para reviews such as what you would always read on MRR for an example. This is why many bands who have sent me their releases are still waiting for my reviews! Some even dates to last year! To all those bands, I’m sorry but I’ll get on to your stuff very soon!!
Ila Mitra is a power-trio of sorts, with Seelan on guitar and vocals, Clement (who now deejays the LCDIY Underground Radio) on bass and James (who I last saw playing for Steve Towson & The Conscripts) on drums. Musically, the band play post-HC of the mid to late 90s American strain, not at all metallic but more on the early harder emo-core strain which Ebullition and Council Records would be eager to blag those days. Some people would tag “Screamo” but as I see it, there’s not much screaming here!
Seelan’s desperate but audible singing sometimes reminded me of early At The Drive-In in some areas (and also Robert Smith!), especially at the higher pitched bits. That said, Ila Mitra is not a technically accomplished, original nor a clever, clever band musically. The four songs featured here are pretty basic post-HC but you can hear sparks in there. Compared to the more experienced and adventurous My Precious, Ila Mitra is just starting up its engines.
Lyrically, the band rages inner frustration with what’s happening around us; from the way we are treating earth (Gaia’s Reprisal) to the general apathy we see amidst rampant exploitation and abuse (Blood Debt) while vowing to keep on keeping on going against all that (Our Revolution) but not without asking the eternal question of what impact will all these pro-active actions make and how long can we all stand the seemingly failed efforts – as what a friend said in a conversation just now, “Meludah Ke Langit” (spitting at the sky).
All in, Satyagraha is a commendable first effort and I’m looking forward to more, hopefully a more adventurous one musically.
Ila Mitra email
Ila Mita site where you can download three songs from this CD-R
an interview by Hatta with Fallen World, Seelan representing the band :
Fallen World @ Attack