Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind of Fix
Bombay Bicycle club don’t like to wait around. 25 months after releasing their attention-grabbing debut record, the group are readying the release of album number three. The marked difference between 2009′s I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose – all chaos and indie guitars – and 2010′s entirely acoustic Flaws has meant that although the group have many admirers, few claim to really to be sure what Bombay Bicycle Club are all about. It’s a position the band have recently admitted to enjoying. “We kind of put a dizzying spell on everyone so they wouldn’t know what to expect next.”
In attempt to broaden the bands’ horizons even further Animal Collective producer Ben Allen was drafted in for recording sessions in London, Hamburg and Atlanta and more time was spent exploring various recording techniques. The result is, in the main, a beautifully layered piece of work that hand-picks aspects of their previous two works while remembering to push things forwards. It’s an album to calm the nerves of a band who have in the past spoken about an “identity crises”.
Pretty much all of this can be seen on the opening How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep. Its rolling acoustic riff is quickly met with dreamy synths, a repeated vocal hook and some hard drums. Over its three and a half minutes textures are added and tones are stripped away until it builds to its woozy climax. As re-introductions go it’s a good one and ready’s the listener for an album that takes its joy from wrapping simple songs in deliciously intoxicating soundscapes.
Your Eyes contains the perfect blend of hand-clapability, a guitar heavy chorus and rumbling bass to be a future festival favourite. The relaxed, sulphur haze of reverb heavy Lights Out, Words Gone is one of the best Chillwave songs to be seen this year and comes from a band who had no idea they were part of the genre. It’s followed by Take The Right One; a gorgeous slab of old-school muffled indie fuzz with Jack Steadman’s vocal puncturing the mix with looping, wide-eyed wonder. They all are terrifically written songs matched with near-perfect production. It’s a potent mix that over the course of ADKOF‘s 13 songs proves all but impossible to resist.
With that in mind, Beggars could well be the song that pushes them firmly into the mainstream conciousness. It’s first 40 seconds is indebted to Flaws‘ acoustic simplicity before the band seem to look at each and all agree that the tune needs to be Arcade-Fired abit when clattering drums and a sense of real urgency come cascading into the mix.
While the first half of the record no doubt contains some individual gems, it is its latter portion – with Beggars acting as the catalyst – that the album really hits its stride. The delicately chiming, bleary-eyed Fracture, the soaring Leave It, the left-of-centre Favourite Day and the aching balladry of Still (very Thom Yorke) are a fascinating concoction of songs that, while maybe not as memorable on first listen, really start to answer the questions about the kind of band Bombay Bicycle Club are.
So we’ve had the excitable debut and its wise-before-its-years follow up. Now, pure and simple, we have their triumphant third. Bombay Bicycle Club don’t like to wait around, but at this rate, would you want them to?