Detective Byomkesh Bakshy – Music Review (Bollywood Soundtrack)

detective byomkesh bakshy posterYou can listen to the songs at the end of the review.

Madboy/Mink (Saba Azad and Imaad Shah) pick up the best song of their debut EP All Ball (which if you haven’t heard, please do at the earliest; streaming and free download links in our review from last year) called Taste The Kiss, tweak the arrangement and lyrics a little and we have Calcutta Kiss. Lyrically I am too used to the original version so still like that better, but musically the song is as unstoppably addictive as Taste the Kiss with its gypsy jazz-infused arrangement. Given its inherently retro Bollywood-ish sound, the replacement of Pariquel’s (from their debut album Sinema) English lyrics with Hindi lines works like a charm in Peter Cat Recording Co’s Jaanam. The song too is brilliant, the waltz-y rhythm and the myriad synth sounds producing a sublime effect in combination with band frontman Suryakant Sawhney’s drawling rendition. Life’s a Bitch which was part of the Detective Byomkesh Bakshy teaser that was released last year, comes from Delhi based nu metal band Joint Family (incidentally also from their debut album Hotbox). And it is as angsty as the title suggests, vocalist Akshay De growling his heart out. Another heavy song is the one that came in the trailer, Chase In Chinatown, by Sandeep Madhavan (known more as his one man electronica act The Burning Deck). The song features a long, frenetic instrumental prelude that fits the titular theme, before the rap section by vocalist Vyshnav Balasubramaniam (also written by Sandeep) kicks in.

Yang Guang Lives is the only composition which lacks much utility as an audio track. It does have an intriguing orchestration though that should make it work well as a background track. And I could not find any details of the musician whose name is also quite intriguing – IJA. Blek adapt the first half of Fog + Strobe from their debut act Hexes + Drama & Other Reasons for Evacuation for Byomkesh In Love. The prominent disco-style clap beats from the original are traded for a more techno-loaded mod sound (I preferred those beats), but where the band scores is in introducing a classical twist in the proceedings, delivered well by Usri Bannerjee (whom you might remember from Ram Sampath’s Coke Studio episode). Finally there is Bach Ke Bakshy, composed by the most mainstream composer of the lot, Sneha Khanwalkar (and Dibakar Bannerjee, apparently). Mainstream she might be, but her singer list too is comprised entirely of indie musicians – Gowri Jayakumar, Thomson Andrews, Smokey The Ghost (formerly of Machas With Attitude), Big Deal, Trevor and Craz(y?) Professa. The arrangement is racy, highlighted by that folk percussion hook that kickstarts the song – and the rendition is high on energy too, the inclusion of dialogues (presumably from the movie) add to the appeal. Perfect end to the soundtrack.

Seven composers for seven tracks. Dibakar Bannerjee chooses for Detective Byomkesh Bakshy a very indie, very eclectic lineup of artists who deliver a soundtrack that is a thoroughly engaging mix of retro and mod sounds. Kind of sits well with the sleekness that the promos of the movie carry. The interest in the movie increases!

Music Aloud Rating: 8/10

Top Recos: Bach Ke Bakshy, Calcutta Kiss, Jaanam

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