UK indie-folk band Bombay Bicycle Club returned with their fourth album at the beginning of February to great critical acclaim, as they expanded their intriguing, folky sound to encompass new electronic instruments into the mixture, and the general result is that they are more popular and great than ever.
The electronic and rough and tumble Banghra influences on the record, ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’, are welcome ones that elevate the Londoners to a new level. The time they have taken to deliver this piece of work can be seen in this meticulously designed album, that throws together some stunning samples and great instrumentation to bring in more critical success amid a new sound.
Opener ‘Overdone’, throws in the aforementioned drumming and weird electro into the mixture and is a great, confident start to the album. You get the feeling that rather more than being just an audio delight, this is a visual album, you can feel the colour and vibrant nature of the music in songs like ‘Feel’, inspired by the Bollywood film scene, I’ll have you know. Lots of the album, despite it’s early year release is built for the summer, a song I CANNOT wait to hear as the sun is going down on a wonderfully hot summer’s day is ‘Home By Now’, it’s perfect for relaxation and a great way to wind down, yet it comes midway through the album! It’s yet more signs that this band has matured and developed confidence, so so important in the lifespan of a band, and a sure sign that BBC are here to stay.
‘Eyes Off You’, is a slightly slower tune, pretty haunting in a similar manner to that of James Blake, another very interesting singer-songwriter, and the only real weak link comes in the shape of ‘Come To’, a song which when take on it’s own sounds like a delectable slice of indie-rock. I’d always had a soft spot for BBC, individual songs had caught me as being mightily impressive, but I’d never been too bothered about delving into a fully-fledged album of theirs. I’m really glad I did with ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’ for it is a special piece of music.
A real test of the new LP’s success is whether or not the sound would positively transfer over to the live stage, something which I can confirm IS the case! I saw the band on their Spring UK tour, at the grimy, tight venue of Rock City, Nottingham, a great club that has all you want from a venue, cheap booze, sticky floors and a top atmosphere. But alas, it was the buzz of hearing my favourite tunes played out on the stage, something I feared, given the last time I had seen BBC was a few years before in the open-air auditorium that was Leeds Festival 2012. They bored me to tears I have to say, I was neither impressed nor bothered by their dreary tunes as they matched the overcast weather that looked down upon them.
However, in this close-quarters venue, they lit up the stage, with all types of instruments, a brass section, tambourine, eclectic drumming; you name it! They brought their a-game to Nottingham and Nottingham responded as the crowd got loose to the banghra drums scattered throughout the record, and recited back Jack Steadman’s growing vocals right back at him. The gig went by in a flash, and I craved more than the two-song encore.
Luckily, with festival dates throwing them all over the globe this summer, preceded by a current US tour, which sees them taking in all manner of venues, from Coachella to Las Vegas to Philadelphia, they are EVERYWHERE at the minute. I’ll be very excited to see how the album is touring, given I should be seeing them close the summer at Reading & Leeds, it’ll be closure for touring the album, but it’ll be interesting to see how the songs have developed and become perfected over the intervening six months; a six months that have seen Bombay grow from a bunch of hipster nerds, into something much, much bigger.