The Bombay Royale returns with a superb follow-up to the critically acclaimed You Me Bullets Love. Building upon their successful 2012 debut album, the Bombay Royale have expanded their vintage Bollywood-inspired sound on The Island of Dr Electrico (HopeStreet Recordings). With a rich mix of galactic funk, surf, disco and Spaghetti Western sounds creeping their way onto the record, this release picks up where You Me Bullets Love left off and adds a thrilling new chapter to the Bombay Royale imaginary soundtrack series. Labeled as an “Original Motion Picture Soundtrack,” The Island of Dr Electrico certainly sounds like it belongs in a film. This adventurous outing is full of diversity and has something for everyone.
The album is well produced with a deliciously analog sound. Parvyn Kaur Singh (the Mysterious Lady) and Shourov Bhattacharya (the Tiger) handle the vocals well, often trading phrases with one another. The lyrics are mostly penned by Bhattacharya and sung in Hindi and Bengali, although the band also performs songs written in English, Tamil, Telugu and Punjabi.
Kicking off with “Ankhiyan,” the Bombay Royale appears to have only strengthened their approach since their last record. The 11-piece ensemble, led by director and saxophonist Andy Williamson (the Skipper), sounds hungry and full of drive. Horn blasts and vintage synthesizers announce this bright track.
“Khubsoorat Bewafa” serves up a slice of sinister spy funk with some sitar cutting to the surface. “Tere Bina” utilizes the full ensemble to great effect. The cool guitar riff at the beginning leads the way as the song builds intensity, resulting in one of the most memorable songs on the record. The first half concludes with “Hooghly Night Patrol,” which has a mysterious sound reminiscent of an Ethiopian groove.
“Gyara 59” slows the pace with an infectious harmonica and electric guitar blues. When the trumpet joins the guitar it sounds as if this song is taken from a classic Western. “The Bombay Twist” sounds like the title suggests. A psychedelic, Chubby Checker-inspired number with an outstanding break.
“The Island of Dr Electrico” is a 70s funk cut with wah-wah guitar, synthesizers, sitar and commanding horns which reaches an incredible crescendo. “Falcon’s Landing” is a deadly instrumental track that segues brilliantly into “The River,” perhaps one of the best songs on the album.
All streams lead to the river and the same can be said of “The River.” The record concludes with a number that wraps up this set perfectly. Singh and Bhattacharya sing a heartbreaking tale of a love lost that will get under your skin.
The Bombay Royale stunned listeners across the globe with their superb debut album in 2012. The Island of Dr Electrico is an outstanding second effort and should garner the group even more international attention. Grab the CD or buy the LP to absorb all of that analog glory.
There’s even an additional song, “Kis Taref,” which didn’t make the album. Luckily it’s available as a free download, courtesy of HopeStreet Recordings.