Formed by musical director, Andy Williamson, The Bombay Royale has prided themselves on paying homage to 60s and 70s Bollywood, long considered by critics and fans the genre’s golden era, as it was a riotous period of bold, bright colors, thematic sophistication and highly unusual experimentation – and the sounds possessed propulsive rhythms, a rousingly anthemic, yet danceable feel and a larger-than-life, cinematic bombast.
Interestingly, vinyl collectors, funk lovers and hip-hop heads seeking unheard and unfamiliar grooves to sample have been drawn to the sound without knowing much about the sound’s visionary originators, R.D. Burman, Asha Bhosle and Mohammed Rafi, each of whom are household names in their native India. And in some way, Williamson and The Bombay Royale are actively attempting similar to the soul and Afrobeat renaissance of the past decade – attempting to make India’s household names known and beloved to Western ears and hearts.
Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM for some time, you might remember that I reviewed The Bombay Royale’s, You, Me, Bullets, Love, which according to Williamson and the band was conceived and written as though it were the soundtrack of a prototypical Bollywood movie; in other words, a whimsical production, international espionage thriller full of double and triple crosses, explosions, death, a comedic sequence here and there, a love story and of course, an epic dance sequence or four. Yes, the actual movie would likely be viewed as ridiculous to jaded Western eyes but no one would be able to deny it’s come-all, be-all, crowd pleasing nature. But at the end of the day, you’d care about the music – and the album’s material which was comprised of a wild mix of wild mix of propulsive, four on the floor disco funk, shimmering tabla, spaghetti western horns and guitar, and psychedelic surfer rock may have some listeners imagining it were the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino’s forgotten (and long missing) Bollywood-inspired re-tooling of Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill – but with an ebullient, joyful nature at its core.
On Record Store Day, The Bombay Royale released a 7 inch vinyl single that features “Wild Stallion Mountain,” which displays their unique aesthetic, which effortlessly meshes the sound of Morricone spaghetti Westerns, slick and propulsive 70s disco, complete with wah-wah pedaled guitars and bass, swirling electronics paired with lyrics dramatically sung in a mix of English, Hindi and Bengali. Much like La Femme’s Psycho Tropical Berlin, it’s a wild mix of disparate things that shouldn’t make sense put together and yet somehow and their Giorgio Moroder meets Morricone meets Bollywood fever dream is ridiculously fun.
The official video for the song is what I can best describe as a riotous fever dream, seemingly influenced by loads of old Westerns, coke, hallucinogens and a wild DIY spirt. I guarantee that it’ll have you repeatedly saying “what the fuck is this?” And yet you’ll get the humor and spirit of it, and how it works for the song.