Dimple Sharma - Urban Monk
2011, Dimple Sharma
2011, Dimple Sharma
Toronto’s Dimple Sharma is a master of many trades. The entrepreneur, author, musician, educator, community organizer and singer/songwriter excels in whatever she touches. A practitioner of yoga, Sharma lives what she believes, seeking to illuminate the higher self in her own life and the lives of others. The concepts and philosophies of her east-Indian roots come to life in her music. Dimple Sharma’s debut album, Urban Monk, mixes eastern philosophy and sounds with western musical styles, creating one of the most dynamic and original debuts to come along in some time.
Urban Monk opens with an intriguing mix of Indian instrumentation, pop vocal stylings and Americana guitar on “The Seed Must Die And Break”. Dimple Sharma contrasts spoken word verses with a sung chorus, showing off a pleasant voice in a treatise on a cycle of life based on death and rebirth. “Urban Monk” seeks passion and adventure, but quests in passive tones leave listeners with a bland pop sound. Dimple Sharma sings here about the power of life, but with an automatic feel that undermines the subject matter. “Climb That Mountain” is a mildly upbeat paean to internal change and revolution; a carpe diem moment, if you will. The energy is better here, and Dimple Sharma charms with a voice that’s both sweet and low.
“Purest Gold” speaks of the benefits of yoga in a surprisingly funky and catchy number with incredible movement beneath the melody line. The placid forefront of the song barely contains boundless energy underneath. This song is infectious and will get inside your head. “Stone Guest” is bland contemplative pop, offering deep philosophical concepts in quick bullet points built for post-MTV attention spans. This spoonful of sugar doesn’t help the spiritual medicine go down easy, and becomes so distilled it’s hard to glean anything meaningful from the song. “Light Enough To Hold” is a nice recovery however. Dimple Sharma keeps it simple here, with a sweet and subtle vocal line amidst well-constructed harmonies. This is a nice bit of low-key pop music imbued with a sense of hope and confidence.
“Lost” manages to be simultaneously resplendent and repetitive pop music. Dimple Sharma’s voice is warm and direct, capturing the listener’s attention, and the instrumentation she uses here is enthralling. It’s not radically different than what she’s shown us thus far on Urban Monk, but on “Lost” something truly clicks, and Dimple Sharma transcends here influences to create something original, affable and enduring. “My Ancestors”, on the other hand, is a bit bland. Much love and respect goes into the song, but it doesn’t emerge in a way that the listener can truly experience. “Moving Across The Water” is haunting and beautiful; Dimple Sharma’s voice is at its finest here. If there’s one complaint about the song, it’s the backing vocals, which seems a bit out of synch with everything else around them. Dimple Sharma closes out with “Shine On”, an eight-and-a-half minute monstrosity that overstays its welcome.
Dimple Sharma has hits and misses on Urban Monk, but when she’s on the mark she shows the ability to move listeners; to bring them to a different place musically. Here worldly folk/pop mix of styles and sounds is unique and intriguing, even if she gets a bit caught up in mild trance/dance beats a bit too often. There’s a lot to like here, and Dimple Sharma’s sound is flexible enough to catch on everywhere from NPR to pop radio, with a stop in the dance clubs on the way through town. Expect Urban Monk to be the first of many offerings from Dimple Sharma, and don’t be surprised if one day she’s a household name.Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about Dimple Sharma at www.dimplesharma.net. You can download Urban Monk through Dimple Sharma's website, or through the e-tailers below: