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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

New Bombay Bicycle Club album almost impresses

Published: February 7, 2014
Section: Arts, Etc.

Bombay Bicycle Club, a London-based band, is known for their innovative indie music. Having produced three critically acclaimed albums in three years, their fourth album, which took three years to produce, had to meet high expectations. Although most indie critics like to pin the changing style of Bombay Bicycle Club’s sound to their status as a relatively new and inexperienced band, their new album “So Long, See You Tomorrow” has finally given them the chance to show how truly unique and experimental they are. Bombay Bicycle Club (BBC) is redefining their genre one album at a time.

The album begins with the song “Overdone.” Honestly, BBC couldn’t have started with a better song. “Overdone” further develops the band’s distinct sound. It has all the components of a classic Bombay Bicycle Club song: the mesmerizing vocals, the trance-like instrumentation and the clear-cut vocals of vocalists Jack Steadman and Rae Morris. The song has an extremely catching melody that stays with the listener long after he or she has heard the song.

Following “Overdone” is “It’s Alright Now,” which also attempts to match the brilliance of the previous track, ultimately making it a foot-tapping and groovy number.

The strength of “So Long, See You Tomorrow” is the way BBC has incorporated world music successfully without having lost the goal of creating their own catchy rock music. This is exemplified in “Feel,” a song that begins with a sample of a popular Bollywood song and then leads to an infectious Caribbean rhythm. This mind-blowing fusion of different worlds while maintaining the BBC flavor shows the true genius of this evolving band.

Other songs such as “Luna” use Indian instruments like the tabla and certain African instruments. Luna is definitely one of the high points of the album. Although it is a departure from the usual BBC’s soft indie rock, the vocals of Rae Morris and Jack Steadman manage to add a lot emotion to this electro dance-inspired number. “Luna” manages to show the versatility that the band has always claimed to possess.

“Carry Me” had a promising start because of the use of irregular drumbeats and unusual chord changes. However, it soon becomes cliche and repetitive due to the immense influence of dance pop music on it. If this was an attempt to explore the dance genre, it was slightly half-hearted on BCC’s side.

A complete contrast to this song is “Home by Now,” which is reminiscent of BBC’s earlier work in a good way. It’s slow, emotional and rousing. The song manages to elicit a sentimental response because of its lyrics and the magical vocals of Lucy Rose.

Lucy Rose, who has frequently collaborated with the band and has been instrumental in their most popular songs including “Lights Out, Words Gone” and “Flaws” has given her voice to another beautiful ballad, “Eyes Off You.” Although the song doesn’t break any ground when it comes to style, it manages to be simple, melodic and memorable.

“So Long, See You Tomorrow” might not be BBC’s best album. It is, nevertheless, an album that tells us what kind of band they want to be. They don’t want to be put in one category; they’re naturally and constantly evolving. Instead of recycling the same old style, BBC is striving to blend unexpected genres of music without losing their voice in the process. The album manages to give listeners songs you want to both dance to and ruminate over, and sometimes it works. This time, it almost worked.