Ali Suhail at the #MpowerFest 2014 in Karachi, Pakistan. Courtesy Ebtesam Ahmed.

Ali Suhail’s ‘Bubbleboi’ will get you hyped for his upcoming album

Bubbleboi marks the first single from Ali Suhail’s 5th (!) LP ‘White Flag’, and as with all of his previous albums, Suhail brings his trademark guitar work to the table, along with a constantly shifting composition that always remains interesting.

‘I suppose, anyway’ is the main refrain of the track, a kind of meek offering of opinion met with a simultaneous disavowing. It matches up with Suhail’s general perspective of the album as a whole, where the ‘white flag’ can “signify a retreat or submission but once you engage with it, it becomes more of an ambush.” The structure of Bubbleboi is similar. The track begins with an ambient soundscape and muted keys, joined with Suhail’s vocals, before jumping into a funky guitar rhythm.

It’s strange; sometimes Ali Suhail’s lyrics seem like they could be raps in the way he employs wordplay and half-rhymes. The very first lyric -- ‘I wrote you a letter, roped you in with letter, with all the letters I could find’ -- has a similar emphasis on repetition and playfulness that wouldn’t feel out of place in a hip hop track. Bubbleboi generally talks about the dynamic between a caretaker and the one being cared for, specifically “between a mothers perspective of caring for a bubbleboi.”

Ali Suhail at Lahore Music Meet

Suhail’s guitar work here is, as usual, exceptional and he uses his trademark palm muted picking style that I loved on Sikandar Ka Mandar’s Uncle to similar effect here. The composition shifts around, always moving somewhere unexpected. The little vocal clipped sample that pops up around the track, crying out something that sounds like “neva!” again and again, is a cool little flourish.

I’m hyped for this album to come out, especially since Suhail’s previous LP ‘Pursuit of Irrelevance‘ was such an interesting and weird (in a good way) record. Check out the track above, along with an awesome monochrome music video directed and animated Rahema Alam, which captures the distinctly strange world of Bubbleboi perfectly.

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