Mumbai based band Corner Cafe Chronicles released their newest single, Gloria’s Kitchen, earlier this month to positive response. The band features Chinmay Patkar on vocals and the rhythm guitar, Parth Malhotra on drums, Soumitra Vichare on bass and backing vocals and Swanand Thakur on lead guitar.
Drawing inspiration from a variety of sub trends as diverse as vapour wave, classic rock, with smaller but distinct indie rock elements, Gloria’s Kitchen is a treat to listen to with its sonorous guitar in the beginning making way to a powerful finality in the chorus finally crystallizing into a glorious rock n’ roll solo. Written as a tribute to the city of Mumbai , the single easily forays into a trajectory of other Indian rock bands, and perhaps the sensitivity of Indus Creed’s Zephyretta comes closest to defining the beginning of Gloria’s Kitchen, where a soft, tonal guitar ponders its way into the middle body of the song, which is where the indie influence becomes more prominently felt. A steady, breezy rhythm you’d like to take a walk to takes over for the middle portion of the single before it transitions into a more classic rock nature, quite unexpectedly, but very effectively. The song is beautifully textured, seamlessly interweaving its various musical influences through strong songwriting and melody construction.
The title of the single itself is an interesting enough anecdote. Named after a cafe near Byculla in Mumbai, lead singer Chinmay Patkar tells us about the inspiration of the single deriving from a practice held by Gloria’s Kitchen- that of placing water outside of their premises, for travelers and commuters to drink for free. Touched by the gesture, the band delved into a song dedicated to the many individuals moving in and out of the city of Mumbai, working to make it to their various dreams, through struggle, hardship and failure. Mumbai, in the oft-repeated cliche as a “city of dreams” comes alive again. The epigraph preceding the song points to the same.
Lyrically, too, the song is quite enigmatic, with some wordplay available right at the beginning, when Patkar croons, “ Waking up to the rustling, rustling city”, the effect of two “rustling”s resulting in an almost onomatopoeic quality.
Fantastic musical execution aside, the video of the single is a bit of a hit and miss and lacks the conceptual finesse the music displays. Our protagonist, the representative of the struggling urban citizen trying to make it, awakens to a soft guitar, walks over to his basin and turns the tap only to discover there is no water. He then eats some food, puts on a horse mask and heads out, which is when the idea of the video as a dirge of successive millennial problems begins to crystallize itself, with the watcher invariably buying the bait of a Bojack Horseman reference. Lead vocalist Chinmay Patkar disagrees, saying the figure of the horse was utilized in order to evoke the idea of a working day in and day out, without respite, to an end goal that may or may not be reached. However, the monotony remains. In order to emphasize this, the lens of the camera retreats into a circular shape, echoing the idea of a horse’s blinkers, unable to look at anything but the goal: what is immediately in front of them. The not-Bojack Horseman figure is referenced later as well when the band members kick him off stage in order to symbolize them considering their lives outside of the narrow idea of goals.
Amusing albeit slightly unnecessary not-referencing aside, the music video appears less polished considering the capacity of the musicians, and would perhaps work well for a lesser band instead. Camera angles appear too close at times, the idea of blinkers and a horse race with ‘betting’ could be nuanced further, and the last sequence of the band playing would benefit from a rehash. Regardless, the music carries the video forth in its own steam and the collective talent of the band shines through with, and not despite the video.
Corner Cafe Chronicles does justice to its name, bringing in a delightful melange of influences you’d hear in an indie cafe playlist, tales you’d half-eavesdrop on tables across from you, all delivered with a rich lyrical base and instrumental prowess. We cannot wait to hear more from them.
Listen to Gloria’s Kitchen Here.
All text by Anandita Thakur.