Between plans to release new Urdu songs and an English album, the indie pop art group has released acoustic, stripped down versions of past songs. Instep talks to the group and finds out more.
an it be that one of our favourite bands, Poor Rich Boy (PRB), have shel-ved their upcoming 2023 album, No Honor Among Thieves? Is that why we’re witnessing acoustic releases of past PRB songs in stripped down, acoustic musical fashion? But to think on those lines is a falsehood. In fact, any such conjecture is a form of misrepresentation and should be thrown right out of the window.
The Lahore-based group ft. music producer and multi-instrumentalist Zain Ahsan and lyricist and vocalist Umer Khan confirmed to Instep that new material is very much on the cards.
The acoustic songs, said Zain Ahsan, were from a recent performance at Tagh’eer in Lahore.
“We played a show at this place called Tagh’eer Lahore and a friend helped us out with the video,” said Zain Ahsan.
Tagh’eer is a space in Lahore that caters to creative person or persons such as musicians, artists, writers and creative individuals.
Zain explained about the acoustic videos further. “Adil Hyder Rahim and Shahrez Aezad filmed it. Adil is the guy who takes our lyrical videos and stitches them together. I had asked him to bring his camera gear and we placed a sound device in front of the amplifier. We tweaked it. The result came out quite decent so we just put it out and that was pretty much that.”
Zain Ahsan further explained that a couple of more videos from the same performance are coming. “These days, we’re trying to play some shows, record them and put it out.”
As this piece goes to print, in addition to the stripped-down version of ‘Alice’, a minimalist take of their original Urdu song ‘Kaghazi’ has also been dropped. Like ‘Alice’, ‘Kaghazi’ is also from the same performance.
“The song ‘Alice’ is from the first EP we released. ‘Alice’ was the first [single] we released. We’ve played it,” said Zain, referring to the acoustic version, “the same way except its stripped down and it’s just the two of us (Zain and Umer). There’s no bass, drums or electric guitars and any such embellishments.”
“‘Alice’ was the first [single] we released. We’ve played it the same way except its stripped down and it’s just the two of us (Zain and Umer). There’s no bass, drums or electric guitars and any such embellishments.”
As for ‘Kaghazi’, Umer Khan, the group’s vocalist, composer and lyricist, reiterated what Zain Ahsan said. He, too, noted that the stripped version of ‘Kaghazi’ was from their performance at Tagh’eer.
Will these versions make it to the group’s upcoming album, No Honor Among Thieves, scheduled to release later this year? Zain Ahsan rejected this notion. “No, no,” he said.
“No Honor Among Thie-ves will be received later this year. ‘Alice’ has already released as part of the first EP. We released it in 2012, I think.”
As for ‘Kaghazi’, it is part of the group’s Urdu material out of which two songs are unreleased. Zain Ahsan explained that both of the songs are ready for release. “I’m sitting on them.”
In the coming weeks, both of the Urdu tracks are planned for release before Ramazan. “We have another show coming up so we’re just juggling all of it.”
The band’s acoustic versions in monochromatic videos sound purely acoustic and unlike the originals. To be fair, both songs – in this acoustic format – sound beautiful. Umer Khan has also sung them from the heart, lending each song – ‘Alice’ (English) and ‘Kaghazi’ (Urdu) a fresh character.
The minimal sonic landscape, courtesy of Zain Ahsan is refreshing. It is also a masterclass in how an original song can be presented in a diverse fashion. In his self-deprecating manner, Umer told Instep, “It was filmed. So, since we had footage of the performance, we thought we’d upload some of the less terrible performances.
“There might be a couple more uploads coming. At least. Maybe three,” he concluded.
It is entirely possible that by the time you are reading this, a new song or a video of the band from a performance might have dropped. But now you know. The acoustic performances, while not a part of an upcoming album, present the band in another, terrific light and therefore, they are worth our time, yours and mine. The end.