Notes From Underground

Album Review: GROW RICH – Senen Lempuyangan

Self-Released - 27 April 2018

Grow RichGrow Rich is a one-man project catalyzed by Abdur Rahim Latada in late 2016. Hailing from Jakarta, Indonesia, Latada, nicknamed Oyi, records and finances his music on his own in true DIY fashion.

His debut EP, Senen Lempuyangan, has already received positive acclaim from such outlets as Highwire Daze, If It’s Too Loud, and The Blog That Celebrates Itself. Featuring input from two death metal drummers (Arya Laksana of Dead Vertical, Qory Ariyanto of Trench Horror) as well as one hardcore drummer (Jati Xeno of Oyi’s previous band, Nervous Breakdown), the EP makes for one invigorating and intense listen.

Opening on “Poo She Whack On,” the guitars allude to mid-80s indie rock but with a refreshingly vivid and modern tone. Oyi’s voice complements them through a similarly gentle, chorus-tinged, reverberated breeze, all the while sporting a sense of command. I found this song to center around appreciating someone as they are, even to the degree of embracing their pronounced flaws. As mentioned previously, the drums are what resonate in giving this song, as well as the EP, its identity. They come in full force – dark and blistering with swift fills and seasoned transitions, which prove a strangely fitting contrast to the otherwise sunny chord sequences.

Grow Rich“Sleepless in Bantul,” the track to follow, earns the distinction of being both a song and an interlude. Simple as it is relatable, it focuses on the ironic sense of peace that one feels once another’s harshest, negative feelings are revealed to them. In some way, the track’s structure highlights the nature of their relationship—from the initial infatuation to the gut-curdling buildup, to the indefinite end—in a nutshell. From there, “Elle Punk” reshapes the pace with a tasteful ode to 90s power pop. Oyi’s voice rings especially poignant here, amidst the matching extent of blunt force emanating from the guitars and drums. According to him, this song is essentially a shout out to those who exhibit consistent compassion toward animals, which aptly complements the title. The EP comes to a close with “Cash to Kyodo,” by far the heaviest from an alt-rock standpoint but also pretty up there in metal terms as well. I’d consider it as having a Smashing Pumpkins skeleton, held together by nuances of Black Sabbath, both of which bolster the vocals that are uniquely Oyi. With a message of self-sufficiency through heartbreak, it is one to cap the EP on a rightfully positive note.

Overall, Senen Lempuyangan proves a solid showcase of Oyi’s talent, not only in a singular sense but collaborative in the same way. Each song showcases a balanced group of influences, which find comfortable fitting among those that would normally contrast. To a great extent, this EP effectively encapsulates the subtle, brooding darkness behind what appears light, in a naturally sincere form of expression.

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Jake Küssmaul

Jake is a musician and writer from the hamlet of Hawthorne, NY. Despite having mild cerebral palsy, he continues to break barriers, developing solid connections and lasting friendships with bands around the world.

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