“This I know…I don’t know anything.” Such is the pensive, persistent, existential line fed to us from singer/song-writer and guitarist Stephanie Carlin. The line comes from the song aptly titled “This I Know” from the album Tree of Series byAvidya And The Kleshas. Carlin, the frontwoman for the band, presumably the “Avidya” of “The Kleshas,” holds her own as she leads members Xander Naylor (guitar), Javier Santiago (piano), Russ Flynn (bass) and Wess Reid (drums). She is raw and honest in tone and delivery. Imagine the female version of Brandon Boyd (frontman for Incubus) meets Fiona Apple. Lyrics are layered and symbolic. If you’re a fan of the unconventional and the organic, or interested in music with a message, the band offers just the right dose of such.
On technical aspects, the Brooklyn-based band’s name carries much significance in relation to the music they offer. “Avidya And The Kleshas” is tethered to Buddhist teachings, as it related to the muddied or cluttered mind. Avidya relates to human ignorance and delusion which is connected with the Kleshas, negative states of mind. Plainly, the band’s brand of soul-baring is one which seeks to move toward discomfort and outside of the norm. It’s meant to engage, excite and incite discourse on a wide range of topics including politics, religion and ethics, to name a few.
Earnest, bold, a mixture of up-tempo and down-tempo, this jazz-folk provides us with the indie alternative equivalent to their soulful Brooklyn-based kin-folk Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. A viewing of an Avidya live show is proof-positive of the quality of the band’s delivery as strong vocals coast alongside lovely instrumentals. Each song is a moment, as we are swept away and nestled into our human truths and conditions. Mother and God, Body of Lead, Being and the title-track Tree of Series are most notable singles of the 11-track debut.
Cop the album for consciousness, truth and the exposure of our human nature, not to mention just plain ol’ good music!