In almost every artist’s career comes a point where they must develop their sound and mature as a band in order to continue growing, but they need to balance this evolution so as not to lose their current fanbase. It’s the difference between a band that creeps towards the headline slots at festivals and ones that you almost completely forget about, and with their new album So Long, See You Tomorrow, you won’t be forgetting Bombay Bicycle Club any time soon.
A simple melody played on a cor anglais slowly fades in as the album opens with ‘Overdone’, and it’s soon joined by flutes and violins before a pounding drum beat comes in, backed up by a grinding bassline. You’d be forgiven for thinking this is a Bonobo track, until Jack Steadman’s vocals come in and you realise that this is just the diversity of Bombay Bicycle Club’s musical talents. The track continues in a similar fashion, with a breakdown half way through that begs you to turn the volume up until your neighbours are complaining at your door.
The album feels well and truly underway by the time we reach the third track, ‘Carry Me’, with its offbeat timing, infectious melodies and simple (but effective) breakdowns. The solid groove and repetitive lyrics in the chorus are reminiscent of a Hot Chip track, and the album’s energy builds before dropping back down with the beautiful ‘Home By Now’. The stuttering piano chords give a ‘remixed’ feel to the dreamy track and almost makes it feel like a pop/R&B ballad with female vocals and simple loops.
‘Whenever, Wherever’ calms the album even further with a beautifully simple piano and vocal introduction before building the energy back up with a medley of synthesisers and guitars, and leading into ‘Luna’, which is the track that feels the most like Bombay’s older material. With a hint of The Naked & Famous thrown in for that epic indie-rock sound, this is sure to be a favourite among fans that will resonate across fields at festivals this summer.
The Bollywood-infused sound of ‘Feel’ is the first time the band live up to the ‘Bombay’ part of their name and might catch you off-guard at first, but it’s no reason to be alarmed. Playful melodies and a dancehall drum beat power the track and drive it forward, and you’ll soon find yourself grooving along, whether you like it or not.
Bombay close the album with the title track ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’, which washes over you with a four-minute wave of calm before picking up the tempo for two minutes of psychedelic euphoria. It’s an interesting way to end the album, but it certainly leaves you wanting more and in many cases, you’ll just end up putting the album on again.
Comparing this album to band’s debut I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose from 2009, it’s incredible to hear how much they’ve grown. The chirpy guitar riffs and simple chord progressions have been replaced by very carefully selected instrumentations, more complex structures and a much wider musical diversity that will hopefully prove to all the non-believers that Bombay Bicycle Club aren’t ‘just another indie band’, they’re truly talented musicians and they have plenty left to give.
So Long, See You Tomorrow is out on 3rd February and can be ordered through iTunes now. Check out the video for ‘Carry Me’ below.