"So Long" Fares Well for Bombay Bicycle Club

British indie rock band delivers a sound worthy of their contemporaries

If you’ve heard of Bombay Bicycle Club before, you’re probably familiar with their smash hit “Shuffle” — a song that makes you want to do just that.

Repeating the line, “Say you haven’t had enough,” the song made listeners feel they really hadn’t had enough of British indie rock band BBC. After three years of anticipation, the band has finally released its fourth album, “So Long, See You Tomorrow,” to significant praise.

“So Long” begins with “Overdone,” easing listeners into the album’s rhythm with a slow progression of fading noise. The band doesn’t sing a single word until 50 seconds in.

This type of dramatic build-up is rampant throughout the album — many songs start with just one instrument, followed by a collage of different sounds, instruments and voices that coordinate the dynamic sound Bombay Bicycle Club has become known for.

Many of the songs in the middle of the album take on a more serious and somber tone, both lyrically and instrumentally. The seventh track, “Eyes Off You,” continually repeats the line, “I can’t be sad,” which when paired with the quiet piano and long pauses between lines lend the song a unsurprisingly melancholy vibe along. The track does offer a smidgen of hope, however, and though it sounds a bit like Bon Iver’s disheartening “Skinny Love,” you can probably save the tissues for listening to your Bright Eyes playlist.

The saddest track on the album is arguably “Whenever, Wherever,” which begins slow and dismal, only to introduce synthesized noises and drums, creating a nice beat to juxtapose the despondent lyrics. The song ends with, “Oh, Lord, I try and it’s still not enough,” producing a sense of hopelessness despite the deceptively cheerful beat.

Bombay Bicycle Club broadcasts their diverse sound in “Home By Now,” pairing piano with a beat one would expect in hip-hop or R&B music. “I remember long drives sitting in the back / Looking out at endless snow / Waiting in the silence,” the song confesses, staying true to the raw emotion and sentimentality the band puts into the album as a whole.

It isn’t until “Luna,” though, you get a good impression of singer Jack Steadman’s voice and realize the magnitude of his talent. The lyrics continue to croon, “You burn through my mind again and again / And again and again” in repetition of the album’s longing, surely capturing the hearts of hundreds of girls in the process.

“It’s Alright Now,” meanwhile, boasts an upbeat rhythm, and a sense of urgency as it repeats, “It’s alright now, I don’t wanna wait.” Although still not as buoyant as “Shuffle,” the song is bound to be put to a dubstep bass and played in clubs all night long.

With sounds similar to Matt & Kim and Silversun Pickups, this group has an abundance of talent which appeases the combined desires for fun dance songs and somber, meaningful tunes. Breaking away from the party music they once made, Bombay Bicycle Club shows with “So Long” they can not only master variety, but also have real musical talent. For this, BBC’s future seems inevitably paved with innovative albums and strong success.

Published February 10, 2014 in Arts and Entertainment, tableau

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