By Ninder Kaur
Last year, we saw Highflyers return with their second album release, and it was about time that I put their hard work under the lens to see whether it deserves a thumbs up.
“Born Desi” saw brothers Gurj and Indie making the transition from The Sound Pipe Records to the influential VIP label.
Their now current album features 14 deadly tracks to keep Bhangra fans moving and shaking. The album features a string of artists from Bakshi Billa, Meet Malkit to Jaswant Heera and the late Kaka Bhaniawala.
The duo’s first album released in 2011 featuring singles like ‘Daru Naal Yaari’ , ‘The Shinda Duet’ and the very popular ‘Baa Farke’.
3 years later with enough time to learn and grow as artists, the duo are on top form creating a buzz with their ‘Aaja Hun’ and ‘Shera Varge’ authentic folk bangers.
The lads have not fallen short from providing you with traditional elements that represent their Punjabi roots and music style in every song that they have produced.
The impressionable track ‘Pyar Tere Naal’ featuring Jaswant Heera is one that will definitely not disappoint. This easy listening track will put you at ease whilst it evokes the message of love in its lyrics written by Bhinder Khanpuri.
A personal favourite of mine is the ‘Gulabi Suit (Remix)’ featuring Meet Malik. The lyrics in the song are very catchy and the overall melody of the track is very addictive. This guaranteed dance floor favourite will be one that you’ll soon have on a repeat, even just after a few seconds of listening.
What makes this album special is that the boys have included a massive track ‘The Manak Tribute’ with vocals by the very talented Pargat Khan (nephew of the late Kuldeep Manak Ji). The track manages to captivate listeners with Pargat’s passionate delivery and the inclusion of the 1981 classic ‘Banoti Yaar’. It’s nice to see how Indie and Gurj have paid their respects to someone who can only be described as a legend in the Bhangra industry.
What’s new to the album is that the brothers have managed to extend their sound by finally utilising a female vocalist. Yes, that’s right. The boys teamed up with Jyoti Gill who featured on the track ‘Galwakri’. Through the use of her distinct vocals, they have managed to address meaningful themes like patriotism in the form of this duet.
The biggest disappoint of all when listening to the album and what surprised me most was the track ‘Full Speed’. With Demonic rapping his way through the song, it left me slightly confused as to how this track didn’t really fit in with the whole image of the album. With 13 singles being centred on folk renditions, it felt like this track had no real place on the album. It didn’t adhere to folk inspired lyricism, instead it encourages listeners to ignore red lights whilst speeding around in expensive cars. But like I have said, it is a peculiar track and I can only hope that the guys have placed it on the album by mistake. Thankfully the banging beat manages to save this track from being a total disaster.
Despite the album not having any solid dance floor favourites, the album is packed with great tracks and impeccable vocals. It does however, have a plethora of styles with each track containing a concrete Bhangra beat that is part of the Highflyers signature style.
Time for the final verdict. Three years after their debut release, it looks like Highflyers have upped their game by delivering a more versatile album that remains grounded as a folk rendition. For that reason, I would give this album 3/5 rating.
The Born Desi album is available to download online.