Baltimore trio Pinkshift grapples with the gutting devastation of death and loss on their raucous new EP suraksha. The band is also in the midst of finishing up their current tour on the eastern coast of the U.S. Led by the direly honest howls of vocalist Ashrita Kumar — her words punctuated by the furious support of drummer Myron Houngbedji and guitarist Paul Vallejo — the three songs found within were originally written as a trilogy of love songs. But that all changed with the unexpected passing of Kumar’s Nani (grandmother).
Taking its name from a Hindi loan word from Sanskrit (surakṣā or सुरक्षा) — its meaning rooted in divine protection, security, and safety — suraksha arrives as both a visceral ode to the family matriarch and a sulfurous confrontation with heartache. “Without you, oh, I’m / Stuck in a place that’s moving too fast,” Kumar wails on “lullaby” against a thunderclap of percussion and shrieking riffs. “Until we can meet / Suspended in time, reanimate me.”
On “home,” they pour out their anguish as a deluge of frantic rock as Kumar wrestles agonizingly with the tenuousness of life and the relative permanence of death. The first two songs also dissipate in their outros into dreamily ebullient instrumentals that warble with the ethereal tones of a sitar—reflecting both the emotional cacophony of losing a loved one and the assuaging peace that’s ever yearned for in its aftermath.
suraksha ends on a rousing note with its closing track, “to me” — a song that finds Pinkshift coming to terms with being sundered from a loved one with the help of those around them. “Sharing stories we haven’t heard before / Even though they all sound familiar,” Kumar ruminates alongside grueling guitars. “The air in here is easier to breathe / It just feels a little lighter.”
Pinkshift’s 2021 debut EP Saccharine should be your next stop after suraksha. With rallying and rip-roaring songs like “Mars” and the exquisitely frenetic “I’m Gonna Tell My Therapist On You,” the trio has laid the bedrock for their inevitable rise. Both EPs serve as the frenzied introduction to the sonic and lyrical ardor that crackles from within their blistering creations.
Words: Steven Ward
10/18 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
10/19 – Tampa, FL – New World Music Hall
10/20 – Orlando, FL – Level 13
10/21 – Miami, FL – Gramps
11/24 – San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger
11/25 – Austin, TX – Emo’s Austin
11/26 – Fort Worth, TX – Tulips FTW
11/28 – Sant Louis, MO – Delmar Hall
11/29 – Nashville, TN – The Basement East
12/2 – Washington, D.C. – 9:30 Club
1/26 – Asbury Park, NJ – House Of Independents
Listen to suraksha the new EP from Pinkshift below!