WORKSHOP – Made Love to the Dragon
Audacious, hilarious, outrageous….that is how Workshop’s debut album ‘Khooni Murga’ could be described. A great collection of different styles of rock and metal coming together for comic relief. There were ideas close to India’s social construct, some sung in Hindi even and they all made the album just work as a great product showcasing metal’s funny side. However, the new album ‘Made Love to the Dragon’, no pun intended, fails to hit the spot. Please read on for an elaboration on why it did not make me look like a grinning idiot with headphones on in public transport.
The album kicks off with the title track, whose theme is probably an exaggerated dig at exaggerated digs at power metal. Hence the entire song is actually quite a generic power metal track, with its galloping three-note rhythm over a regular 4/4 beat, complete with a nicely flowing guitar solo. The lyrics are an explicit description of…well…a dragon having the nasty done to it. As a track it sounds great but for what Workshop sets out to do, which is to make ridiculous jokes, it misses the mark. Now while I’m not a student of sketch comedy, I would have liked certain subtleties in their otherwise all-out approach to the lyrics, but then that’s just me. The next track, ‘Down to Dahisar’ however, does do justice to that to a certain extent. The song is essentially about a regular Mumbaikar trying to find affordable real estate but gets ridiculous prices and turned-down offers because of the background he comes from. The music is regular hard rock that delivers the message of discrimination in India satirically well, along with the anxiety and dog-eat-dog lifestyle of the common Indian. The tracks that follow this one are tales of a mansion haunted by a horny,vengeful ghost; 2 bar dancers who are named after popular Bollywood item number protagonists; a really, really fat person trying to get laid; a desperate married woman with a non-existent sex life; a serpentine; a man who never gets lucky with the ladies; a (supposed) Arabic version of a previous Workshop track and a ‘Bonuts Song’, an instrumental. Musically, the band essentially switches between regular hard rock, power metal and groove metal styles, with certain songs having the quick flourishes of a black metal riff here and a death metal blast beat there.
Now the reason why I say this album doesn’t make my rib tickle is because there is a lack of new comedic ideas for new themes. The last album was a first of its kind, it had its close-to-home jokes and phrases that added a sense of familiarity to the messages in each song. There was also a way those jokes were told, a certain sense of seeming discretion that suddenly threw the punchline in your face quite hilariously. This album however, has no such levels. There is no element of surprise, only really vivid descriptions of sexual or gluttony-related themes. There are a few songs here and there that do provide the kind of smart humour that the last album did, like ‘Down to Dahisar’, ‘Munni Jawan v/s Shiela Badnam’ and ‘She Came’, but that’s the extent of that. To end, I would say this: the album is there in terms of musical skill and vocal talent. However, this time, the joke? I really didn’t get it…