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Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow

Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow

by , 27 January 2014

Much like Arctic Monkeys or, regrettably, The Kooks, Bombay Bicycle Club have been something of a rite of passage for many a spotty teen, (myself included, spots a'plenty), upon discovering that cuddly guitar music outside of the Top 40 doesn't simply mutate into death metal. Sprouting from the sloshing, sickly depths of the stagnant landfill that Alex Turner almost single-handedly birthed, I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose, the band's debut, has gradually, silently, tightened its grip on the masses, despite recently celebrating its fifth anniversary and sounding a bit, well, dated.

Fresh releases have followed, of course, the wistful hush of acoustic LP Flaws and the noticeable restraint of A Different Kind Of Fix, but you wouldn't know it. While So Long, See You Tomorrow certainly feels like a radical departure, Bombay Bicycle Club don't seem overly concerned about alienating those clinging onto their jangly indie pop of the past.

Swirling with a hypnotic groove, 'Overdone' is a delicate, promising opener, a stomping riff gorgeously entwined with a mesmerising looped violin, seemingly swiped from Bonobo's hard drive when he wasn't looking. His influence is smeared all over 'It's Alright Now', too, if only on a more stripped back basis, its four minute running time lapping soothingly at your feet, as if to prepare for the bombast that is to follow.

Despite resembling a desperate stab at reinventing past glories, 'Carry Me' feels fleetingly euphoric and deservedly dance-worthy, but yearns for a snip around the three minute mark, while 'Home By Now' flirts with off-kilter R&B rhythms, Jack Steadman croaking, "If you don't spill your heart, I'll chase you for the words you owe," over stammering keys.

If preceding tracks feel impressive, 'Feel' is the record's comfortable highlight. Steadman seems to revel in the thrill of enticing listeners from unfamiliar waters, this time wrapping his croon around a frothy Bollywood sample and squelching synths, reinforcing the album's profound globetrotting ambitions.

If So Long, See You Tomorrow qualifies as a reinvigoration, old friends, such as Lucy Rose and Rae Morris, are still along for the ride, albeit lumbered once again on husky backing vocal duty. Nevertheless, there's no denying that they provide the album with its gooey centre, 'Come To' a particularly arresting highlight.

It is refreshing to hear a British band, at least to these ears, refusing to revert to old habits, despite feverish pressure, and given a rare opportunity by hungry onlookers to craft something that resonates as truly their own. This is a record that certainly sits cosily alongside Steadman's sporadic solo endeavors, his gentle, experimental fingerprints all over the LP's swathes of warm sonic texture and lush soundscapes. There's a distinct sentiment that the widescreen scale of their fourth album is far more daring, at least in comparison to past offerings, than a Bombay Bicycle Club album is entitled to be.

It must be frustrating for Steadman and his fellow Bicycle Clubbers to be unable to shake off the mainstream's lager-stained memories of their debut, but you get the sense that So Long, See You Tomorrow is an appreciative, if somewhat firm, farewell aimed in their direction. Rather fitting, eh?

Rating: 8/10

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