Ali Noor has been a mainstay in the Pakistani music circuit since roughly two decades now. We all know him as the lead guitarist & vocalist of the much-renowned rock band Noori. Over the years Ali Noor, alongside his brother, has produced numerous hits as a part of Noori. Ali Noor has also made multiple appearances on Coke Studio.
But did you know before all that, he had a secret life that not many are aware of?
Ali was part of this band you might’ve heard of, called Co-Ven for a while. Back in 1997 Co-Ven released an EP called ‘Not In Your World’ with Ali Noor on lead vocals.
The whole EP is in English, like all of Co-Ven’s songs. The band’s lineup for the album had Hamza Jafri and Abid Khan on guitars, Ali Jafri on bass, Sikander Mufti on drums and Ali Noor on vocals. The album is a quintessential late 90s post grunge album.
At the time many bands surfaced across the globe that had a very grunge derivative sound
Basically, these bands were trying to figure themselves out by playing music very much similar to the stuff they grew up on. You had London based band Bush whose debut album Sixteen Stones had in many ways tried to imitate the sound of Nirvana and Pearl Jam.
Much like their international counterparts, these young musicians from Lahore were also in the process of finding their true selves
Listening to the album, you can actually feel that Ali Noor’s is trying to imitate Eddie Vedder’s style, at times. Honestly, no matter what anyone says, the result isn’t bad. His vocals compliment the overall sound perfectly.
The music meanwhile has borrowed elements from Pearl Jam’s early albums, Ten and Viatology namely. The song ‘Fur’ for instance has a very Pearl Jam vibe to it.
However, in songs, including ‘Killer Whale’ and ‘Morning’, you could hear a bit of Soundgarden in terms of abrupt shifts in song structure. The song ‘Smelling Insane’ has that Nirvana and Pixies feel to it. It’s kinda like when they sat down to record the album they were like “Ok these are the bands we listen to, let’s just try out different stuff from each and see where it takes us”. I could be wrong though in my assumption. I mean here I am dissecting a two decade old EP.
Sure, the EP was derivative as hell, but at the same time it was pure as fuck too
I, personally love the rawness and in your face vibe, the album gives. It’s a bit rough around the edges and the overall sound lacks maturity, but you have to remember its a bunch of guys on a self-discovery journey. That too at a time when this sorta stuff was being hardly listened to in Pakistan.
It is quite evident from the work all of them did afterwards that they did eventually achieve what they were looking for.
The band Co-Ven was instrumental in reviving the local rock scene in the early 2000’s. Ali Noor and Ali Hamza formed what is now known as Noori. Meanwhile, Hamza Jafri revamped Co-Ven bringing Sameer Ahmad on Bass, and Omran Shafique on guitars. Co-Ven went on to release some of the most complex musical numbers. Co-Ven has actually developed a unique sound of its own which can’t be boxed within one genre.
All in all I would say, listen to ‘Not in Your World’ while controlling your inner music snob.
Cover image via: Zameer Music / YouTube