Album Review: Strings – Koi Aanay Wala Hai

The impeccable return of Strings

It is a milestone. It is experimental. It is reinvention. It is the comeback of the two most talented men Pakistan has ever produced. Koi Aanay Wala Hai is a masterpiece, one that reintroduces us to Strings in a new avatar.

By Maheen Sabeeh

The fifth element

Koi Aanay Wala Hai is the most impeccable album in markets right now, the only one that is as brilliant in its sound, concept and creation as Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s Charkha.

A turn of the decade is what Koi Aanay Wala Hai is for Strings, the most consistent musical act of Faisal Kapadia and Bilal Maqsood, who have never failed to surprise us.

Their latest, the gorgeous and thoroughly conceived video of their comeback single, ‘Koi Aanay Wala Hai’ that features John Abraham, looking his best as an angel, was a sign of things to come.

Startling effects, cloudy skies, an innocent love and Strings looking suave, stylish and perfectly coordinated in black suits, singing and playing guitar in their element, and that too in the skyscraping surroundings of Kuala Lumpur, it was the perfect pitch to tell their fans that they were back, indeed.

The now-monster hit has Faisal trooping along with natural ease to Anwar Maqsood’s words, “Dhadkan Keh Rahi Ha/Yaha Koi Aanay Wala Hai/Sawan Keh Raha Hai/Badal Koi Chaanay Wala Hai” while the song is one that grows on you, slowly and steadily.

A sing-along factor persists throughout, a riff-rock treatment, and the biggest asset of the band, Faisal’s voice, that never lets you down with Bilal sings softly ‘Koi Aanay Wala Hai’ as chorus hits, its an impressive beginning.

Now together for 18 years, this is a band that has miraculously avoided repetition on their records. It is as if Strings pick up an idea and 50 seconds later steamroll it on their way to a new concept and that is what they have done with Koi Aanay Wala Hai.

The wall of sound

If one were to define this album in one word, it would be ‘masterpiece’. And that is because this is an album where 12 songs are woven together so artfully that one can’t help but just marvel at the Strings.

And here is why Koi Aanay Wala Hai is a milestone for Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia. The band has retained their signature but for the most part, the album is an out and out experiment, which is not easy. Because by the fifth album, listeners tend to expect a certain sound. To take a 360-degree turn at this stage of their careers, it shows courage. It is the kind of step that has reaffirmed faith in the band once again.
Koi Aanay Wala Hai can be divided into two parts.

One, edgy, abrasive over-the-top rock songs that can play lesson to other aspiring rock acts (and current existing ones) and two, beautiful, soulful poppy tunes that remains the forte of Strings.

From the infectious ‘Koi Aanay Wala’ to the celebratory air of ‘Aik Do Teen’, the soft gloom of ‘Titliyan’, the introspective ‘Sonay Do’ and the excellent wake-up call of ‘Jago’ there is not a single flaw on this album.

Anwar Maqsood deserves equal applause for improving to such a level from last time that he just stuns you. And yes, there are still phrases like ‘Badal, Ghata’ and some of the other usual suspects but they blend so well with Faisal’s inimitable vocals that one can’t complain.

For the most part, the album remains positive and that is delightful. Rock music tends to get morbid, which eventually makes it tedious and sometimes forgettable.

And yes, it is also a rock album, in most places. And not the kind of monotonous album that has a mind-numbing number of riffs placed at equal distance. But mature rock that will remain embedded in memories as a classic.

It is present on the bouncy ‘Aik Do Teen’ with its jubilance that hits you in the soul while the words tell you a magical story about a fairy with a wand. If granted a wish, what would it be? It starts off from materialism and eventually ends at a better world as the wordplay goes, “Aik Do Teen/Kaisa Badla Scene/Dunya Thee Haseen/Jo Maanga Sab Tha/Har Basti Mein Ujala Tha/Haaton Mein Niwala Tha”.

Faisal sings with such enjoyment and precision that he takes you inside the world of this story because it is written with such depth that imagination can almost paint a picture inside your head.

Move on to ‘Jago’ and one finds scorching guitars, a glimpse of hope and Bilal’s energetic call to wake-up and see the world.

‘Jab Logon Mein Tera Dil Ghabraye/To Tum Khud He Se Poocho/Kyun Tarey Raistey Hain Uljhay/Tum Un Par Daikho Chal Kai/Jag Utho Dekho”

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