April 25 2012
In our ever increasing cultural need for things and sounds that are new, we've become so voracious that making new stuff isn't even enough. And for some time now, even the old stuff, in the midst of our sea of significance or lack thereof, enjoys new life. Of course 'retro' is a big part of our present and if that's an indication in its own right, then it seems it'll be a big part of wherever this backward-looking future is going.
This is definitely not a bad thing however. Especially when something different breaks through. And when that something turns out to be something that was largely ignored in the first place, then it can really shine; and be new again. The release in question is new, its sound however is not.
Forgive the long-ish intro, but the latest from The Bombay Royale, You Me Bullets Love, is not to be slept on...at all. The sound is steeped in the classics, of Bollywood films that is. The Bombay Royale are a Melbourne band dedicated to honoring and reviving the funky, bizarre and mysterious music of vintage Indian cinema. Dusting off near-unheard relics and kicking out Bollywood classics all while putting out surfy, psychedelic Hindi originals is what this band does well.
Fans of Botown, another band doing the exact same thing or of Brooklyn's Budos Band need look no further in their search for funky and exotic instrumental inspiration. On You Me Bullets Love The Bombay Royale dusts off classics like "Oh Sajna," from the classic Hindi musical Khush Naseeb with a funky surf-beat swing. Or as on "Jaan Pehechan Ho," from the Gumnaam soundtrack, wipes the surf sound out with an even catchier jump-ska vibe. While "Sote Sote Adhi Raat" doesn't come close to the funky flavor of the Sapan Jagmohan original, their originals on the album are modern classics for a genre that has auto-tuned itself popward.
"Monkey Fight Snake" and "Bobbywood" are really frsh cuts that seem to be from movies that have not-yet-but-should-be made. "The Perfect Plan" is a Hindi funk steamer that almost gets it right, but is still more head-funk than dance-funk. Overall, I like this album lots; it's more right-on than wrong and somehow manages to be far better than an imitation. Even on the covers, the album sounds good enough for someone versed in the originals and the originals also prove up to the task. Definitely gets the 88Nine endorsement and I'll be featuring it next Monday on Sound Travels.
Thought I'd share some cuts from it, including my favorite... and you can get some of these for FREE on the band's Bandcamp page.
The Bombay Royale "Phone Baje Na"
"Monkey Fight Snake"
"Jaan Pehechan Ho"
And though the pieces are there, it looks like they could work on their stage presence a bit. They seem a little unsure in their funky slice of heaven, and it remains to be seen if they can pull this off live; a bit to much gravitas to grab your ass and put it where music like this belongs. (Need I say dance floor?)