Three young women decided they wanted to explore making music together.

On the top floor of a nondescript building in a part of Colombo known as Slave Island, musicians teach children by day, and, by night, unwind, converse, jam and, on some days, host gigs. It is here, at Musicmatters, that three young women decided they wanted to explore making music together.

Having started jamming in 2019, the trio now known as TOPPICAP have quickly become indie darlings in this small and insular local scene.

Their debut single called “Tripping Over Time”, released in April this year, is a song about grief and loneliness, time and healing, and how a part of one’s identity is often lost along with those we have lost.

Wavey, spacey chords open the song, with sweet, mellifluous vocals speaking of “falling through the floor as the ceiling starts to drip”, before breaking into a catchy, staccato grunge riff. Midway, a squelching synth colours the song as the vocalist sings: “Time will make it better”.

Their second single and debut music video “When We Die”, released in July 2021, is a song that explores faith and love. Inspired by the story of gay penguins adopting a rock at the Berlin Zoo, the music video is a colourful paean to love in nature.

The song begins with a reggae strum, with wistful words about seeing someone again in an afterlife.

It’s a conversation between one who has faith, and one who has doubt, perhaps, and how when in love, one would even “face the Kaaba and relinquish every vice, if I get to see you when we die”.

The chorus has the nostalgic sound of late 90s, early 00s alternative pop, before the song breaks down again, as the music video takes a sinister turn, with visuals inspired by the XPress Pearl ship that caught fire just off the shores of Sri Lanka in May, catastrophically polluting the environment with millions of plastic nurdles and toxic chemicals, before sinking into the depths. We see mutated creatures in a post-apocalyptic world.

Being one of Sri Lanka’s few all-girl bands, the girls are aware of the particular kind of attention and importance that is afforded them, but they’re not interested in being pinned down as such. TOPPICAP, to them, is about three friends with different tastes and goals, motivating each other to create. And, I must say, it sounds beautiful.


TOPPICAP on Instagram, YouTube, Soundcloud, Spotify.

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