Call – Dhoom (Album Review)

January 29, 2011

By Mutee ur Rahman (

So after half a decade since their debut and a long 9 years since the revival of quality Popular music in Pakistan, Lahore’s Call are back with the their second album titled “Dhoom”.  The album was reportedly on Fire Records’ list of upcoming albums for a long time and finally sees the daylight at the beginning of 2011.

The distance between “Jilawatan” (Call’s first record) and “Dhoom” serves the band well as they opted to shift gears and swerve considerably away from their original sound. Where “Jilawatan” was a dark and melancholic album, “Dhoom” is an uplifting record. Not surprisingly, the initial reaction from listeners does not go in favor of the band.

“Jilawatan” scored a respectable fan base with hard, riff-based songs and grit filled performances that were perfect for listeners who wanted their Rock to be more “headbangable”. Pakistani music was going through a revolution and Call’s entry was seen as an echo of another successful band from Lahore called Entity Paradigm. The progression was more calculated with the mastermind behind both bands being songwriter, guitarist and producer Zulfiqar Khan aka Xulfi. Few years later, Xulfi secured a deal in Bollywood producing songs for Hindi movies. The result was a massive success with Xulfi’s Bollywood tracks receiving heavy airplay on music channels as well as being popular with mainstream audience.

With “Dhoom” Call attempt to balance the duality of their identity; they pull it off to a great extent. The sound is bright, modern and vibrant. Stronger emphasis on the melody is seen and the choruses are layered with intricate use of harmonies.

The title track opens the record with intense drumming and pounding Rock riffs, it is an aggressive song but still has its uplifting moments. Junaid delivers a strong vocal performance with ease; a nice surprise for people who expected Call to abandon their original Hard Rock edge. Next up, the album’s lead single “Mein Aisa Hee Hoon”, a veracious Pop Punk track featuring the album’s most jaw dropping and infectious melodic hook, the beauty of Call’s new found Pop sensibilities shine here showcasing clever song writing and performance.

“Rung Do” brings the excitement down a notch with its tender melodies and emotional vocal performance. It’s a mid tempo ballad featuring a very memorable chorus with lots of strings and shimmering acoustic guitars.

“Yeh Pal” begins the set of more Pop sounding tracks, leading to the oh-so-familiar “Ho Jaane De” ending with “Dharkay Jiya”. These are very Bollywood friendly compositions and should bring in newer fans but could also prove a bit traumatic for the dedicated followers. The relief comes with “Hum Say Hay Zamana”, a powerful song again showcasing great song writing skills, It switches between ecstatic verse sections to a strong power chord laden chorus the roaring backing vocals of which turn this song into an epic anthem.

A reminder of the original Call sound is presented in form of “Kyun”, a slower song with distorted electric guitar chords and a towering powerful chorus. This is followed by another soft ballad called “Abhi Dair Hai”.

The album nears conclusion with “Teri Haar Hum”, Call’s answer to EP’s “Humain Azma”. The saccharin softness of immensely successful “Laree Chootee” brings forward the album’s problematic contrast issue. It is a catchy little tune with good depth and structure but feels out of place. The closing track “Aasman” is a tribute to the country’s Air-force. Its message of strength and courage is the same as that of “Pukaar”, the band’s first released single. The lyrics are matched with intoxicating melodies and perfect harmonies bringing the album to an end on a positive note.

Overall, “Dhoom” is a treat to listen to. Every song is carefully written, produced and performed and all are potential hits. Many of the songs have already garnered attention being featured in various TV commercials and Hindi films. Tremendous improvements in the production and direction of the album are prominent, most songs feature real drums with great playing and large powerful sound. The only problem is that the record lacks the consistency of its predecessor. The Bollywood flavored weak Pop tracks don’t really strengthen the musical experience of the album and prove to be distraction from the real Call. They fail to harmonize with the more acoustic, edgy Rock tracks which suit more to a progressing and evolving band.

Call’s great song writing and performance demand respect but their ambitious approach of interlacing the disc with Rock and extremely Pop songs creates a problem, people who prefer to listen to albums without interruption will have to keep skipping tracks to enjoy the music they like, they will have to choose between songs from the heart and songs crafted to fulfill contracts.