Bombay Bicycle Club

So Long, See You Tomorrow

Written by: TL on 06/02/2014 17:05:29

Having built momentum for a few years outside of my sphere of awareness, London quartet Bombay Bicycle Club crashed in on me with the irresistible piano jangle of 2012's chart single "Shuffle", prompting me to check out both their third album "A Different Kind Of Fix" and now also their recently released fourth "So Long, See You Tomorrow". On it the band continues to develop as the kind of experimental indie band for whom the conventions of ordinary rock or pop records are uninteresting boundaries, opting rather to employ a plethora of instruments and effects across the ten tracks on offer.

Opener "Overdone" revels in fat bass and high tones that sound like a Chinese movie soundtrack while the following "It's Alright Now" lives by a catchy vocal repetition and shrill horns that sound like they're heralding the sunrise. The exotic and diverse sonic tapestry seems inspired by The Maccabees' fantastically atmospheric "Given To The Wild", while the airy singing and the poppy, rhythmical vocal samples hint towards the Irishmen in the similarly named Two Door Cinema Club or the French in upstart outfit Air Bag One.

The opening and overall atmosphere of single choice "Carry Me" also reminds me of Wintersleep's most recent album "Hello Hum", and the fleet-footed number gives way to "Home By Now" which has a chiming keyboard signature that sounds like picking up coins in Super Mario. All the while singer/guitarist/keyboardist Jack Steadman sings hauntingly in both a playful, round indie-folk voice and in a tender falsetto, answering the countless bells and whistles that are brought to bear in "So Long..."'s eclectic arrangements.

The record is no doubt rich and ambitious to the point of almost sounding like it has a bit of ADHD, which means that it will keep yielding more details to notice on many repeat listens, but it is fair to ask I think, if it hasn't come at a bit of a price. The female vocal harmonies lend a certain sense of magic to the bubbly "Luna", but often Steadman's repetitively chanting vocal style doesn't hold up instead of some more melodious lines or ear-popping phrases, and while a song like "Eyes Off You" does take the tempo down for a bit, you get the feeling that the record is restless to get back to the spring in its step that it otherwise exhibits and eventually feels a bit samey for.

Overall, "So Long.." measures up as a bountifully ornamented indie/alternative record which is a big earful to take in all at once, yet it can at times feel a bit unfocused and over-excited with its own experimentation, to the point where it feels like the lyrics are recited more than felt, and where style is more important than staying power. It's a colourful display of the young band's diverse talents and a delicious work of production to boot, but if you take it down to the bottom line, its songs won't measure up among the top layer that's been written in the genre, just as its overall impact doesn't weigh in at the same level of the referenced "Hello Hum" and "Given To The Wild". So despite the intrigue of "Luna", "Carry Me" and "It's Alright Now", it's hard not to wonder if the band won't need to find more gold from the vein of "Shuffle" to take a full step up to the next level.


Download: It's Alright Now, Luna, Carry Me
For The Fans Of: The Maccabees, Wintersleep, Two Door Cinema Club

Release Date 03.02.2014

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