Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow
Record Label: Island Records
Release Date: February 3, 2014
It's been five years since four, middle-class indie kids blasted onto the British indie rock scene with their blues tinted, fresh-sounding debut album I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose . Since then, Bombay Bicycle Club have gone from strength to strength. Three albums and many genres later, the Londoners have returned with So Long, See You Tomorrow, one of the most anticipated British records of 2014. No longer are Bombay Bicycle Club the polite, endearingly retiring indie kids of their debut, in 2014 BBC are one of the biggest bands in British music and So Long, See You Tomorrow is the result of that fact. Filled with eclecticism, confidence and irresistibility poppy touches, the band's fourth album is a masterclass in creating music with both heart and mass appeal.
The most striking feature of So Long, See You Tomorrow is the manner in which BBC manage to successfully mix eclecticism with cohesiveness. As we've witnessed with the transitions from blues to folk to pop that have occurred in their back catalogue, they're certainly not a band to stick with one sound and SLSYT is not an exception to that trend. Much of the record is devoted to perfecting the middle-ground between indie-pop and dance, a feat which many bands recently have stumbled over. Rather than allow themselves to fall in the dance category, BBC have very much held on to the characteristics that have defined them throughout the last few years. The endearing, sweet vocals are still omnipresent, the delicate melodies are more prevalent than ever and their music has retained that 'overwhelmingly pleasant but somehow intelligent' vibe. However, this is a band with a lot more edge than what we've encountered before. Opener "Overdone" swiftly introduces the listener to a newly aggressive, swagger filled sound. A wonderful mix of hard-nosed guitar riffs, infectious but inventive beats and male/female vocal dynamics, "Overdone" is a fitting start for a record which showcases a band at the height of their career.
Similarly eclectic is the R&B-tinged "Home By Now". The radio-R&B production values are quite subtle, but when combined with a lush vocal performance, it makes for a surprisingly palatable track. "Feel" is the ultimate example of the confidence that the band exude on SLSYT. Kicked off my a Bollywood sample and centering around the refrain of 'just one feeling', "Feel" is both infectious and bloody strange and its hard to not get caught up in the upbeat feel of the track. That the band simply refuses to stick to any type of formula and are willing to take so many risks, helps the listener pass over any missteps that may occur with their experimentation. It's all so energetic and so much fun that its hard to do anything apart from do an awkward indie dance and smile to yourself.
However, despite the experimentation, Bombay Bicycle Club are at their strongest on So Long, See You Tomorrow when they're at playing on their pop sensibilities. Lead singles "Luna" and "Carry Me" are both propelled by massive choruses, simple hooks and a sense of mid-paced easiness. "Luna" is quite simplistic but the lead female vocals and laid-back beats make for such a relaxed track that forces the listener to at least nod along. A special mention has to go to token sad song "Eyes Off You". A piano ballad by numbers, the beautifully tender vocals and simple but intense lyricism are sheer perfection and show that Bombay Bicycle Club are one of the most dynamic bands of their scene.
Bombay Bicycle Club are, arguably, the best of the current wave of British indie bands. Completely ignorant of what is 'cool' in the musical landscape, the band exist in their own artistic vacuum and are all the better for it. If you want a refreshing, imaginative, heartfelt record which manages to be fun and emotional at once, So Long, See You Tomorrow provides everything you could want. Bombay Bicycle Club are the best at what they do.