Bombay Bicycle Club’s fourth album, So Long, See You Tomorrow is lead singer Jack Steadman’s musical equivalent of a pair of traveller’s Harem pants. Discovered overseas, brought home and worn at every opportunity, in the hope of keeping alive the magic of the adventure that once was. We watched Bombay Bicycle Club play festivals as they finished up high school, we listened to them as they were having their times of teenage angst, partied with them as they hit their twenties and created electric pop songs, and now we are simply listening to the product of their gap yahs.
Steadman has been on a journey to find himself, accumulated an array of multicultural musical sounds, and come home to create a record that ultimately sounds like Bombay Bicycle Club – post global travel – on top form. Exactly like a student returning home reppin’ her harem pants to the pub on a Wednesday night, Bombay Bicycle Club are pretty much the same as they were, just with a few more exotic characteristics. Cruel and unfunny Gap Year comments aside, So Long, See You Tomorrow is a fantastic album, an effervescent collection of musical pieces bursting with life experience and talent in equal measure. The album is energising and electric.
The first track, Overdone sounds like an awakening. Bom Bi Club’s sleepy hibernation period is over; the band is back, strong and invigorated. Overdone opens with the repetition of a lone, timid seeming, woodwind sounding riff, the listener is lulled into a false sense of I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Off security… that is until the Bollywood samples, heavy percussion and insistent strings turn up. The sound is large and the layers are ample, fortunately the song sounds more psychedelic than overdone.
The international vibes continue throughout the album. Second song in, It’s Alright Now features lots of rhythmic samba-esque percussion, while Feel is overflowing with Indian inspired sounds. Feel is undoubtedly one of the best tracks on the album, (you could say it puts the Bombay in the Bombay Bicycle Club…!) and I defy anyone to listen to the track without fantasising about being at a summer festival, it is catchy, fun and self-produced to perfection.
So Long, See You Tomorrow sees Bombay Bicycle Club go in more of an electronic direction; with this album the band successfully shake off any ‘indie rock’ labels they may have been tarred with previously. Their sound has developed; there are elements of everyone from Sigur Ros and Arcade Fire, from James Blake to Elbow.
The lovely Lucy Rose makes an appearance on R&B influenced track Home By Now, the duo sounding as good together as ever, and the upcoming star Rae Morris also features on the fantastic Luna. Bombay Bicycle Club have kept hold of many elements of their winning record-making formula and updated it slightly; Steadman sounds as beautiful and bumbling as always, the songs are inspired and exciting.
The band has moved on, travelled far and wide but they haven’t reinvented themselves. They are the same but better. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a pair of Harem Trousers to dig out, I’m hoping this self- improvement wave is catching.