This is a strange album. I desperately wanted to like it, as an Indian woman who has always wanted (and still occasionally attempts) to front a rock band. But this record wears its influences too obviously; the sound is virtually indistinguishable from Patti Smith's seminal Horses. Which is a real shame, as the lyrics have real force and insight, especially stellar tracks like 'Genie's Drugs'.

Shilpa Ray still tours with her harmonium, one of the last vestiges of the classical Indian music she was forced to learn as a child (if 'forced' sounds like an exaggeration, then I ought to make a fair disclosure, that I also had to learn Indian classical singing, and it definitely felt forced.) Eventually, once she settled in New York, she started in a band called Beat the Devil, but moved on to create a solo act, inviting musician friends to back her up live. She has a great voice, and I have no doubt that her fellow musicians are talented, but the whole record sounds like it was recorded underwater; the drums, guitars and vocals all blur together into a muddy mess.

I am sure that Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers make a wonderful live act; it just seems that this album, and its particular brand of production values, have showed up a little too late. Bands like Best Coast and Surfer Blood have similarly distorted their recorded sound, and to much better effect.

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