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Bombay Rickey Merges Bollywood, Surf Rock, and Opera on “Megalodon” (premiere)

High-energy opera and surf rock swirls tell a story of ancient sharks on Bombay Rickey's dramatic "Megalodon".

Smooth alto sax and rippling surf guitar open Bombay Rickey’s “Megalodon” with a flourish. A psychedelic fantasy, it isn’t long before the song speeds up and lead singer Kamala Sankaram hits those ecstatic high notes that have allowed the Brooklyn-based band to stand out as one of the only groups technically capable of covering five-octave Peruvian soprano Yma Sumac. The uptempo interlude is a dizzying one, the slower pieces bookending it entrancing. It all smacks of Bollywood – fitting, as the band uses the song to tell a fantastic and action-packed story.

The story in question is, indeed, one about megalodons. Inspired by the hundreds of fossilized shark teeth that wash up on the beaches of Florida’s Manasota Key and have ended up in Sankaram’s apartment, “Megalodon” begins as a sun-kissed reverie that ponders the creatures’ power, still lingering millennia after their extinction. The song’s speedy middle section takes the daydream further, imagining the sharks’ reign over the depths of the seas before looping back around to a beachy sense of wonder.

As the lead single off of upcoming album Electric Bhairavi, “Megalodon” sets a high bar for the band. Ambitious and cinematic in spite of being less than five minutes long, the song captures the mind with its flair for the dramatic in both narrative and form. Bold is a style the band has no problem with, though, promising to work classical Hindustani styles, prog rock, cumbia, and even the sounds of spaghetti Western soundtracks into the record. Bombay Rickey is a quintet that knows – and needs – no limits, and “Megalodon” is a mind-bending sample of their sonic fortitude.

Electric Bhairavi comes out on Cowboys and Indian on 18 May.


Apr. 6 @ Barbes, Brooklyn, NY

Apr. 7 @ Cattio, Pittsburgh, PA

Apr. 21 @ The Cooperage Project, Honesdale, PA

May 26 @Bossa Bistro, Washington, DC

May 29, 7:30, 2 sets @ The Cutting Room, New York, NY