CD Review: Ajay Mathur – “9 to 3”

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Switzerland has never been a huge exporter of pop music. Back in the day they gave us Krokus, Yello, and Double. Now it’s Ajay Mathur’s turn. His label describes his music as psychedelic, alternative, and, oddly, Americana. It is, in fact, all of those things and none of those things. The single, “My World (SOS to the Universe)” does have bits of those styles, but also sounds a bit Euro-poppy circa 1989, with a hint of UK contemporaries Palo Nutini and Frank Turner. It’s a catchy number with a great hooky chorus sung by children.

“View From the Top,” rocks things up, and borrows a bit from the Rolling Stones “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” Like the single, this song also straddles the Atlantic with its old American rock and contemporary European sound. It too is a catchy tune, but maybe a bit too derivative.

Influences from other cultures turn up as well. “I Mantra,” for example, introduces sitar. That’s probably the psychedelic sound they’re talking about.  An unremarkable intro, it turns into an up tempo number flavored with sub-continental rhythms and throws a rap in as well. Vocally, Mathur sort of recalls the crooning style of Police drummer Stuart Copeland (see “On Any Other Day” from Reggatta de Blanc).

Mathur goes California with “Surfing Girl (Cyber Monda),” a track not about shootin’ the curl but playing around on the Internet. An attempt at cleverness that might have worked 15 years ago, but misses the mark a decade plus into the 21st century.

Mathur certainly has talent though and he seems to be in the right place at the right time though he might be better suited to the UK charts than American commercial radio.

8 Stars Out of 10

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PF WilsonCD Review: Ajay Mathur – “9 to 3”