Music Review: Trickbaby's Chor Bazaar

February 09, 2009

Trickbaby are an Asian fusion band who are precisely two albums old. Their first - Hanging Around - a delectable collection of amped down fusion of Punjabi and low key British house beats came out in 2004.

It was a year later that they broke big for fans in India when Rohan Sippy invited them to reboot "Sabse Bada Rupaiiya" for his movie Bluffmaster. In a CD full of highlights composed by Vishal and Shekhar, Trickbaby's composition was a standout. A few of their songs also made it into the background score - "Neelaa" (which samples Silsila's "Sar Se Sarke"), "Indi Yarn" and "Nine Parts of Desire".

One more year went by and Trickbaby did more Bollywood - composing the title track to the Fardeen-Vivek Oberoi-Esha Deol-Amrita Rao starrer "Pyare Mohan".

Now, two years later, Trickbaby have their sophomore CD - Chor Bazaar - out. And it's got its own India release on the Saregama label.

What exactly is Chor Bazaar like? It's a signature Trickbaby album, which means it's full of synth beats, seductive vocals and Indian percussion via dhols, tablas and drums. There are some clean guitar riffs - there is only selective feedback laden picking on a couple of songs to fill out the beat. The whole thing is very melodious - each song has multiple hooks that prompt sing alongs.

On "Fighter" which opens the CD, Saira talks about getting into arguments without intending to. She narrates an addiction to auctions just because she wants to win the final bid. As in all songs, she drains the emotion of the song in favor of sexy, breathless vocals. And combined with Steve Ager's smooth production - it sets the tone for the rest of the material to come.

There are twelve tracks on Chor Bazaar - two are remixes: Nine Part of Desire gets the cowboy guitar treatment and Neelaa has some minor tweaks. The other nine tracks are new songs. And while I'll let you discover the CD for yourself, there are a few worth highlighting.

On the title track, Trickbaby invite Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hutz (vocals), Sergey Ryabtzev (Violin), and Yuri Lemeshev (Accordian) to create a zany, Russian flavored tribute to India's one of a kind, dubious-goods markets. It's a bold move - perhaps even a confounding one. But it works really well because it not only captures the fervor of a chor bazaar but the Russian lyrics reflect the phoren-maal nature of the items usually found on sale.

There are plenty of genuine fusion tracks as well. Trickbaby use a clap driven percussion to power "Babu" which is sung in Hindi. "Broken Dreams" is in English and Punjabi and uses faded Bollywood influenced backup vocals.

Chor Bazaar is so groovy its well worth the wait. But next time, guys, please don't take so long between CDs.

Aspi grew up in India and lives in Chicago. He is average at everything, except Math, at which he is terrible. He blogs on a variety of topics, including cricket.
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February 9, 2009
12:40 PM

Interesting, are they doing any more movie soundtracks?

February 9, 2009
06:03 PM

Not that I know of Aaman. But I'll find out.

Aditi N
February 9, 2009
06:42 PM

Hey Aspi, I remember reading your list of playback singers (seemingly) so long ago on DC. Good to see you back.

To borrow a line from your review, next time don't take so long between your posts! :)

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