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The Canadian pop-rock group influenced by some South Asian string and drum arrangements, Race Against Fate, showcases their best on “Casually Leave”.  The song employs the talent of Vik Kapur on vocals and electric sitar, Morgan Doctor on drums and tabla, Scott Nelson on guitars, Mark Coradetti on bass guitar, Y. Karkason on Hammond organ, and Mark Morgan on trumpet. .

“Casually Leave” opens with a few tabla beats and drums with electric sitar sounds and reverberating Hammond organ noises.  Vik Kapur’s lead vocals move the song into musical dimensions akin to Venice, Sister Hazel, and Toad The Wet Sprocket.  The backbeat mirrors that of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” which was popularized on the CSI New York television shows as a theme song.  However, there is no direct correlation between that song and “Casually Leave”—only a resemblance.  The chorus sparkles with glistening guitars, pop-rock drums, and scintillating bass-lines that harkens back to the days of the 1960s or 70s folk-rock music.  The music flows with such melody and rhythm with tabla, bass, electric sitar, drums, and Hammond organ sounds throughout.  The final chorus adds a few trumpet blurts to give it a classy, somewhat jazz vein.

“Casually Leave” is a four-minute pop-rock song with a mix of interesting sounds that suggest a South Asian presence that is clearly North American pop with a jingly guitar base.  The various sounds and instruments create a mesmerizing and engaging musical experience.  The pop song is very textured and unforgettable.  The roots-infused, pop-rock concoction is influenced by South Asian elements all composed in a Canadian context.  If you had to choose one song to listen to this year; it better be “Casually Leave”.

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Race Against Fate is the solo project of vocalist Vik Kapur, lead singer of ‘Morning Fame.’ (www.morningfame.com). After recording songs such as ‘Stolen Man,’ ‘Stars and Stripes’and ‘Out of Sight’ with friend and guitarist Jay Knapp, Vik decided to finally try a musical idea that was long overdue: fuse catchy Western pop-rock with Indian instruments such as Tabla and sitar. And add a Latin or Jazz flavor with some trumpet. Essentially Vik did not want to be constrained by the standard instrumentation of rock music and he wants to create a fresh new approach to his music.

On listening to ‘Casually Leave’, it is instantly clear that Vik Kapur has fully succeeded in creating a fresh, hybrid Eastern-Western crossover Pop sound. But where Race Against Fate really hits the nail on the head, is by being probably the hippest band around not to have come out of the Sixties!

Since having first reviewed both Morning Fame and Race Against Fate, Vik has produced a string of memorable singles that sound like they time-warped from another era, particularly the sixties. These songs sound like part of the soundtrack to my schooling years. Each time I hear a Vik Kapur composition, I think of The Searchers, The Hollies, The Dave Clark Five, Manfred Mann, The Kinks and Hermin’s Hermits, along with The Troggs, The Animals and The Yardbirds. I could go on and on, because this list is endless and full of bands that made harmony and melody their common denominator of success.

Race Against Fate take those very same elements and morph them with modern arrangements and production, while still retaining the essence of what makes a tune simply catchy enough to sing-along to. However along with his crystallized melodies, Vik has now also fused Eastern and Western sounds into the latest single, thereby adding interesting components of texture and color to music which is already captivating.

 

Essentially though Vik Kapur and his projects, take you back to the late 60′s and early 70′s when the Top 40 format was still king on AM radio. Most stations would kick off each hour with a driving up-tempo tune that would suit Race Against Fate perfectly. Their sound is the epitome of the then Top 40 Radio sound. A great many people despised that sound back then, only to discover today, that this genre was much better than what they thought then. And the almost total lack of sing-along melody in today’s beat driven tunes clearly evidences that fact. Twenty years from now, would you be able to sing-along to a Lil’Wayne song around a campfire? Twenty years from now, would you even remember who Lil’Wayne was?

Race Against Fate simply make great pop music. This new song, done with usual great care by Vik, is simply terrific. At a time when popular music is getting a lot more complicated, with electronic gadgetry, ‘Casually Leave’ is a welcome breath of fresh air.

If you are nostalgic for the music you grew up with, providing of course you have been lucky enough to have grown up a long time ago! You should definitely own this. If on the other hand you’re just a kid, tired of beats, flows and rhymes, Vik Kapur and Race Against Fate will put a new song in your heart.