Manni Sandhu released his highly anticipated second album on the 10th of June after a 5 year gap. Expectations were high, with both music fans and industry peers who couldn’t wait to see or rather hear what new sounds Manni Sandhu would bring out this time. “My Time” was an incredible album with hit tracks such as Sona, Door Ni Kulne, Bottle, Husna Di Sarkar to name but a few. The album featured some heavyweight singers such as Kaka Bhaniawala, Bakshi Billa, Lehmber Hussainpuri, Manak-E etc. This time round however Manni Sandhu has opted to use new and unheard of singers which i’ll give my thoughts on later on. The new album “Welcome To The Future” featured slightly fewer songs totalling 8 complete tracks and 1 intro.
Track 1 – Welcome To The Future (ft Bakshi Billa)
The first track is an introduction with a special appearance by Bakshi Billa. I have to say most of the time an intro track is really nothing special and doesn’t add to the album. This however is one of those rare occasions where you actually feel as satisfied at the end of it as you would with a complete track. Bash Billa’s vocals are impeccable. He is not used very often by UK artists which is puzzling but the sheer power in his vocals are amazing. The backing music is subtle yet compliments the vocals nicely. The lyrics for the intro have been written by Rattu Randhawa. Overall as the first track of the album, it gets you pumped up and ready for the rest of the album.
Track 2 – Gani (ft Akhil)
This was a song that was released a little while before the actual album. It features the vocals of Akhil, who most recently released the hit track Khaab. “Gani” is a superb track and its no wonder its the first actual track on the album. It kicks of with some guitar chords as we slowly begin to hear the calming and soothing voice of Akhil. The production on this is fitting, very atmospheric and easy on the ears. There are no unnecessary samples or instruments to take away from the song. The sarangi pieces and subtle flutes in the background were a nice addition. Overall the song is great and has a cool summertime-jam feel, something that you can easily play in your car. Lyrics by Akhil and Vakeel Saab are memorising and easy to understand and follow along with. The first track and my first favourite track; Welcome To The Future starts of with positive vibes so far.
Track 3 – Mundhri (ft Prem Lata)
Mundhri is the third track on the album and it features newcomer Prem Lata. If you thought Gani was great and unique, Mundhri takes things to a whole new level. Fresh production, fresh vocals and a fresh vibe. This track was written by Rattu Randhawa. Its what you expect from a Manni Sandhu track, hard hitting beats with that trademark vaja. Again the subtle flutes and computer noise-like effects are in full flow. You really have to listen to this a number of times to hear all the sounds and effects that are in this song; and there are a lot and it all goes well together. Vocals are crisp on this along with the effects it works well with the track. I can say this is another one of my personal favourites.
Track 4 – Chann (ft Gabbar Laddu & Renu)
Track 4 on the album is Chann by Gabbar Laddu & Renu. There was a sneak preview of this track days before the release. The intro is cool, kind of futuristic. Gabbar Laddu are a singing duo hailing from Australia and have said to be heavily influenced by Surjit Bindrakhia. This is the only duet track of the album and I can say it’s really good. Most duet tracks that are released are usually coupled with the predictive desi production. However Chann is a hip urban track which you cannot help but bop your head and tap your feet along to. I must say i do like the flutes and mandolin pieces in this track as well as throughout the album. Lyrics have been penned by Ekam. The vocals are great and refreshing to hear. Production quality is superb and is a pleasure to listen to either with headphones or on speakers. Something that I have noticed with the other songs as well is the level of production has increased since “My Time”. You can tell that Manni Sandhu has evolved just by the quality of the beats and the overall sound of the songs.
Track 5 – Tu Ki Jaane (ft Binnie Toor)
Things are switched up for track number 5 with Tu Ki Jaane. This track features yet another newcomer called Binnie Toor from Amritsar. Binnie Toor delivers a heart filled and emotional performance. The song is basically telling a girl that she doesn’t know how much the guy wants to be with her and talks about the reasons why. Its honestly a really catchy track; having played it a few times it gets addictive. Production compliments the vocals; you can hear the guitar chords in the background. The ending of the song further highlights the vocal ability of Binnie Toor and the atmospheric production adds a whole level of depth to the track. Lyrics are unique and both relatable and easy to understand and have been penned by Jashan Preet. Overall its a cool number, something for the romantics.
Track 6 – Sardaar Bandey (ft Jordan Sandhu)
Jordan Sandhu is up next for Sardaar Bandey. Jordan Sandhu is quickly becoming one of the most popular singers in India at the moment with his recent tracks such as Muchh Phut Gabru and Bebe Di Pasand. The track starts of with a quick intro before kicking into the track. Speaking the track; its basically about being a proud sardar and highlighting why we are so respected by all; it has been written by Simran Daddeaan. Given the lyrics the production is switched up a bit here with more emphasise on the hip hop style production. This is another track that one would expect to hear a heavy Dhol beat behind however we are treated to something different. I for one actually like it, it places more emphases on the vocals and its just refreshing to hear something that is not coupled with the traditional folk instruments. One thing that I would have liked to see more of throughout the whole track is the music at the end. That is some good music at the end and I feel that along with the vocals would have been something really cool.
Track 7 – Naal Nachana (ft Diljaan)
Diljaan is a new singer and he makes a great first impression. He is best known for being the runner up in a big TV show in India / Pakistan called “Sur Kshetra”. The song is about a guy basically telling a girl that he wants to dance with her. Again the flutes in the background and tumbi pieces are really nice to hear. This is a hard hitting track with a pumping baseline and unique music pieces. Diljaan is a good vocalist and has a unique and distinct sound having been classically trained from the same circle as Master Saleem and company. Lyrics for this particular song were written by Sukha Sarhali and he does a great job with creative verses and imaginative hooks. Its a song that you can easily stick on repeat and play it anywhere in your room, your car or even outside in your garden.
Track 8 – Rang (ft Hustinder)
The penultimate track on the album is Rang by Hustinder; another new singer. His vocals have a more distinct tone of voice. Production wise its very different to what you would normally expect. Its not something you would expect on a Bhangra / Punjabi album; it’s very creative. Its got a sort of whistle effect in the background. Lyrics were penned by Preet Daudhar. Vocals by Hustinder are fitting with the track and it goes with the flow. Overall its a great track and the vocals are nice along with production
Track 9 – Gabru (ft Sukhwinder Panchhi)
The last track on the album is Gabru by the highly talented Sukhwinder Panchhi. Just like “Gani” was a great introduction to the album, “Gabru” is a fitting way to round of the album. Sukhwinder Panchhi is an great vocalist with incredible singing ability, most known for the hit track Changa Ni Lagda. The production on the track is different to anything else on the album before and coupled with the vocals makes this another one of my favourite tracks. The subtle effects and add-ins throughout the track really make this track stand out and add a new level of both complexity and diversity. The lyrics are catchy and easy to understand and have been written by Satti Chauhan. The trademark vaja makes another appearance. Overall the track is a really up beat track that adds the right amount of instruments and effects to keep you hitting the repeat button more than a few times.
And with that we reach the end of the album “Welcome To The Future”. To say Manni Sandhu’s second album was highly anticipated would definitely be an understatement to say the least. The album featured a lot of new and unheard of singers compared to his debut. Something else that was also different was the use of the traditional Punjabi folk instruments. Though if I had to sum up the entire album in one word, I would have to say: FRESH.
The album is fresh; fresh musically; fresh lyrically; fresh vocally. Whilst its easy to stick to the traditional and tried and tested formula, its even more difficult to experiment with new sounds and ideas. Welcome To The Future gives a fresh and unique sound, something that the industry had not had as much recently. I like that there were new and unknown vocalists on the album; it not only allows great talent to be recognised but its also something different for the fans. There is also an absence of typical dance floor Bhangra songs on the album as well. With the majority of songs being released specifically for that purpose in recent years, its a good change to hear something completely different. There were certain songs that I liked more than others as with all albums; its down to personal preference. The song selection is definitely different from the usual list of song topics and that is also refreshing to hear. The theme of the album had a more urban and hip hop approach. However you still got the traditional Manni Sandhu sound which he has crafted and developed over the years; which only sounds more and more polished. Overall this is a great album, full of unique flavours, new and promising vocalists and a refined and developed sound that breaks away from the norm.
The official BhangraCentral.com rating for Manni Sandhu’s – Welcome To The Future is 9.3
Do you agree with us? Let us know in the comments below!