Tarsem Singh, Johnny Zee, the Prince of Asian Pop. Call him what you like, Taz has become a household name in the UK and India. In his guise as the lead singer of Stereo Nation, he continues to entertain Asian music lovers everywhere with his bubbly East-meets-West mix of bhangra, Bollywood and pop.
To celebrate his milestone achievement of two decades in the music business, Twist & Shout arrives as a double CD set containing nine originals. A collection of happy-go-lucky tunes with a retro flavour, it's more family friendly than cutting edge music on offer here.
You can't help but bop to the infectious Hindu lyrics and 1950s inspired rock and roll beat of opener I Love You; it's easy to imagine loved-up couples going gooey eyed over this romantic number. The humorously titled Dost Karleh Toast sounds like it has burst straight out of a Bollywood soundtrack thanks to its energetic Punjabi and Hindi chorus/verse structure. These two songs covey the feeling that Stereo Nation had the Indian wedding market in mind while in the studio.
A reggae-inspired version of Roop Tera Mastana from the classic 1969 Bollywood film Aradhana is given a novelty pop mix in a style reminiscent of Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers. The jury is out on whether this is a good or bad thing.
Also on a retro tip is a Bollywood-coloured version of the Beatles classic, Twist and Shout. It's a light-hearted, somewhat cheesy take, and harmless fun. On the contemporary side, Holi Holi Nach features Houston, Texas-based musicians Kostal and Punjabi rapper Bohemia, whose desi hip hop vibe gives Taz's vocals a macho lift. Kostal and Tenny Ten aka 10 Shott, a rising UK rapper, lend Kehde You Love Me a decent urban/Latino sound, while the Pungeh mix of Desi Nukhre featuring A-Slam falters between bhangra and desi pop.
Why so many remixes are included, though, is a mystery. Instead of multiple versions of the same songs, next time Stereo Nation should concentrate on serving up more original material.