FUSS free and undeniably smooth, Balinese indie band Nosstress sticks true to its name in every nuance.
It was by perfect coincidence that I managed to catch them when they performed in Kuala Lumpur recently during the Bali Beza Arts Festival where music, literature and commentaries were featured. The arts festival highlights an alternative view of Bali’s modern history and culture which is otherwise conveniently viewed from a kaleidoscope of a magical holiday destination.
It was already a perfect balmy Sunday evening chilling out with good company but when the trio took the stage, they only made it better as they pleasantly engulfed the diverse crowd at Publika, Solaris Dutamas with 40 minutes of easy, breezy acoustic and folk harmonies.
Singing tunes from their recent album, Perspektif Bodoh (Stupid Perspective), the three-piece band – Cok Bagus Pemayun (cajoon, harmonica, piano, vocals), Guna Warma@Kupit (guitar, vocals), Nyoman Angga Yudistha@Man Angga (guitar, vocals) – formed in 2008 won over the crowd not only with their perfect synchronisation but charming on-stage antics.
Although this is one of the bands which must be caught live for its true brilliance to be appreciated, Perspektif Bodoh is still worth investing in as an addition to any indie or folk music fan’s collection.
Throughout the 11 tracks, it will be quite a challenge not to be taken by the band’s genuineness as the album is filled with messages of gratitude, respect for the essence of time, to take stock of your life, to keep calm and carry on and the occasional social messages like,“smoking kills” without coming across as preachy.
The album begins with the subtle brilliance of Mengawali Hari, where simple acoustic guitar and harmonica accompany a positive message which we often forget; the awareness that we have the capacity to turn around many situations in our lives.
Bersama Kita is the chilled-out-keep-calm-anthem to soothe the creases of a rough day, reminding us how things even out at the end of the day and not to fuss too much about it.
The band’s power and charm really lies within the harmonisation and incredibly smooth vocals that can deliver these loaded messages to perfection. They even bring a smile of appreciation when delivering the high notes beautifully and leaving a lingering calm when the songs are over.
The band’s bluesy and folksy shade comes in full force in Smoking Kills, their very own public service announcement. This folk-swagger continues in the last track of the album, an anthem for procrastinators, Tunda and with traces of it found in the subtle social-commentary, Hiruk Pikuk Denpasar.
These tunes add a slightly different flavour to the album leaving the listener with just enough curiosity of the type of tune that would come next.
The staple love song comes in the form of the lovely Buka Hati and the playful tune for those sloth days, On the Job Training are a good addition to the album.
In short, Nosstress is one of those bands that plays in the background when we are thankful for the little pleasures in our daily lives.
There is no question this band has soul. Judging from their latest single, Kita featuring Sandrayati Fay (unfortunately not included in the album), the band’s ingenuity and genuineness will only leave the listeners waiting in anticipation for their next work.
For more information on the band, you can follow them on Twitter through @NosstressBali or their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/nosstress.music?ref=ts&fref=ts. A copy of the CD can be purchased at this link: https://www.nosstress.com/buy-cd
Oleh: Tarani Palani