Where: Vagrant Records
Over the years, London quartet Bombay Bicycle Club have been steadily increasing their reputation (and fanbase) as they continue to experiment with their sound. Their debut introduced a youthful, blues-inspired sound which soon made way for the folk influence of Flaws, which also made way for the dance-rock third album A Different Kind Of Fix. While changing a sound in any case is respectable, Bombay Bicycle Club have always made sure to stick to the guidelines of their new genre, not really pushing it too far to create something that deemed the sudden shift in sound. A Different Kind Of Fixdefinitely became BBC’s most accessible album, with tracks like Shuffle becoming a pretty big alternative hit over here in the UK.
Fourth album So Long, See You Tomorrow sees the band head towards a more idyllic sound as they attempt to create some ambitious instrumentals embedded deep within the sounds of Fleet Foxes’ Helplessness Blues and Sky Larkin’s Kaleide. There’s a stronger priority to pack So Long…with as many sounds as possible, which for the most part works very well in Bombay Bicycle Club’s favour. This is also the first album of theirs which makes us wish they could develop this sound rather than fall into another genre, as there’s a lot of promising elements here which already provide strong positives moments throughout this record.
Overdone is a heavy hitting introduction into an album that plans to knock the listener’s head into some sort of dysfunctional utopia as it relies a lot of its impact on synth beats that punch through the notion that Bombay Bicycle Club are a little on the soft side. There’s added percussion on top of crashing drums and guitar riffs that could curdle your toes in unexpectant delight, it’s awesome.
It’s Alright Now aims for some previously impossible levels of highs but certainly meets them with some beautiful chords and huge atmospheres blooming easily to create something that’s an absolute joy to listen to. Home By Nowfeatures a piano riff that rings just on the right side of peaceful as a nice rhythm is made, making way for Whenever, Wherever which is arguably one of the best songs on the album.
What makes So Long, See You Tomorrow stand out from the other BBC albums is that it’s built up off elements of A Different Kind Of Fix and Flaws. The mechanical groove of Shuffle is easily to identify in tracks like Luna, which in turn is also influenced by the careful structure of the genre performed in Flaws. Everything on this record sounds concentrated, and is boosted by the band’s experience and maturity, while also retaining a lot of the somewhat off-kilter traits that keep Bombay Bicycle Club on the right side of alternative rock. While it’s not another giant leap in the band’s preference for change, this record is easily the best to come from their steady but stable evolution.