Almost three years after the release of their widely successful third album, Bombay Bicycle Club make their hotly anticipated return to indie music royalty with their new album So Long, See You Tomorrow. During the three year hiatus, the band have taken a new direction with their sound, following Steadman’s treks around India, Turkey and Japan, creating, according to NME, ‘a widescreen rendering of textured glitch rock’. The album has a sense of experimentation about it, an attempt to steer away from their more classic Flaws sound and take on a new identity in the music scene. Indeed the album itself is different from their previous work, but this doesn’t in any way suggest it doesn’t stand up to them.
Rather than sticking to their chilled, non invasive roots, making them popular for background music in coffee shops and clothing stores alike, they expand their sound. Patchworking together new music, the band take various ideas from previous records, taking the rock edge from their first album I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose and combining it with the more ethereal, electronic sounds from A Different Kind of Fix, as well as Steadman’s own solo work (available on Soundcloud). This created a faster and more upbeat sound, which will no doubt be popular at live shows and hopefully make an impression at indie clubs across the UK. Although arguably more mainstream, I personally think the three year wait was definitely worth the wait and displays a different side to the band.
The first three singles released by the band, ‘Carry Me’, ‘It’s Alright Now’, and ‘Luna’, were well received through social media, along with their accompanying videos. Described by NME as ‘a majestic clunk-crunker’, ‘Carry Me’ included an interactive video, allowing viewers to control the movements of the band members. It was a strong first single released by the band, but I feel it lacks the longevity that previous BBC songs have exuded. From such classics as ‘Dust On The Ground’ and ‘Shuffle’, this first single to me didn’t portray the victorious return I had in mind and misled most of the expectations I had for the band. However the follow up tracks restored my hope completely, with the accompanying music video for ‘Luna’ being one of my favourites by the band. Although not necessarily a negative thing, Steadman definitely had full artistic influence over the new album, foreshadowing the change through their recent concert support from the upcoming Cosmo Sheldrake at their pre-Bestival warm up show this summer.
The opening track ‘Overdone’ begins slowly, easing you into their new sound with Steadman’s travelling taking obvious influence. The musical skill of the band is still evident and it displays a more interesting sound, leaving you wanting more. The album fades effortlessly from track to track, subtly changing the sound throughout each songs and encompassing the ethereal vocals of both Lucy Rose and Rae Morris (who appears on their latest single ‘Luna’). My personal favourite tracks from the new album are ‘Feel’ and ‘Home By Now’. The Asian influence is evident in ‘Feel’, a track I personally feel should have been released as a single and should have a strong presence when played live. It has a more upbeat and bouncy sound that’ll have you dancing around, regardless of what you’re doing. ‘Home By Now’ has a slower, more experimental sound, exhibiting a heavier bass to what BBC have previously used and creating an almost euphoric sound.
This new album continues to see Bombay Bicycle Club develop their sound, with each new album surprising me with a slight change in influence and style. Whether you like their new sound or not, it cannot be denied that it is a strong, well produced album that the band are evidently proud of.