Music Briefs: Bell Bottom, Jeevitham Oru Mukham Moodi, Kazhugu 2 & Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakkeel

A quick take on the latest music from B. Ajaneesh Loknath, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Rahul Raj, Gopi Sundar and Jassie Gift...

Bell Bottom - With water plinks and finger snaps as an interesting percussive choice, the clarinet-driven Yethake Bogase Thumba is as much a showcase for Ajaneesh Loknath's captivating arrangements as it's for Vijay Prakash's flawless singing. Sangeetha Ravindranath's peppy vocals are a perfect match for the aptly titled Retro Club Song, but in Aadhi Jyothi Banyo the composer unleashes something sinister and electrifying, the folky composition superbly complemented by Kadabagere Muniraju on the vocals. Ajaneesh Loknath churns out a retro-themed unconventional fare with Bell Bottom.

Kazhugu 2 - Sagala Kalavalli gets the energy quotient right even if it checks all the boxes of a formulaic folk number. Adi Yendi Pulla is signature Yuvan stuff, and his singing continues to be a major sore point, but the orchestration is oh-so-fine. Syed Subahan does wonders singing the Ilaiyaraaja'esque melody Asamanjakari, the lilting tune evocative of his father's Rasathi Unnai from Vaidehi Kathirunthal. Not to be outdone, M. M. Manasi spellbinds with her rendition of Yelamala, with Yuvan letting her vocals take centre stage in an otherwise sparsely constructed-yet-mesmerising composition. With Kazhugu 2, it's all but certain that there is no stopping Yuvan.

Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakkeel - Gopi Sundar and Rahul Raj take turns composing two songs each, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out who fares better of the two. But to give credit where it's due, Sundar spins a wonderful melody in Onnum Mindathe even if he blatantly rips off Harris Jayraj's Poove Vai Pesum Pothu from 12B. Plus Shashaa Tirupati, making her return to Malayalam in about two years after Solo, sounds captivating as always. Rahul Raj, with Yazin Nizar leading on the vocal front, crafts a mellifluous acoustic piece in Thaniye Ithaa, but the man delivers a stunner of a melody with Then Panimathiye, the classical-tinged composition gaining immensely from Harisankar's phenomenal rendition.

Jeevitham Oru Mukham Moodi - Another one of those soundtracks from 2018 that I missed, but Kannodu Melle springs up as a nice surprise from Lajjavathiye-composer Jassie Gift. And giving the Ankit Tiwari-like tune solid backing is Harisankar and Rajalakshmi. The pronounced Bollywood vibe rears up in Nahoom Abraham-composed Venmukilukal too, but that doesn't take away the fact that the melody is breathtakingly beautiful. His Etho Maunam is just as good, if not better, neatly rendered by Haricharan Seshadri and Shweta Mohan and accompanied by an euphonious mix of strings.