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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Review: Umber Mishra - Breakdown

Umber Mishra – Breakdown
2010, Umber Mishra

Umber Mishra opens Breakdown with the title track, a plaintive dirge that seems to give equal time to both the process of overcoming addiction as to the addiction itself. The song seems reflective of the constant struggle of those with the disease of drug addiction, both wanting more and wanting to stop. Sweet Carolina is a love song; although the near monotone delivery makes it hard to take the emotional content of the song with any seriousness. Mishra has a pleasant, unremarkable voice that works in this highly understated arrangement, but the lack of emotional range is a bit disturbing. This lack of emotional affect continues in Alone (I Walked Across). While understanding the potential impact of the lyrics in light of what's come before, the delivery here is flat. Mishra presents as a performer who's been beaten down by his experiences; emoting no more than is necessary for breathing.

Things never really look up on Breakdown until the final track. Along the way, Red Dress, Sunshine, Chanel and Cry Me A River Of Love all become enmeshed in the quagmire. Mishra shows some signs of life on Assembly Line, although this shows more in the guitar than his voice. The listener is left with the picture of a fatalistic artist who meets and treats good and bad times with the same approach. While this might make Kipling fans happy on a linguistic level, it's clear that Mishra is writing from the perspective of someone so broken that happiness and sorrow are mirror images, one of the other. Consequently, Breakdown is likely to appeal to the more hardcore of Robert Smith's fans, but isn't likely to have much commercial reach. Mishra's voice is distinctive, but not in a fashion that's like to have a lot of appeal. Breakdown, ultimately, is a tough listen.

Rating: 2 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Umber Mishra at You can purchase Breakdown as a download from

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