By Ellen MacAskill
London’s most prolific young band return with their fourth LP, ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’. Released yesterday on Island Records, it is a clear follow-on from 2011’s ‘Different Kind Of Fix’. Produced primarily by front man Jack Steadman, after the longest gap between any of their albums, this is their most autonomous attempt at finding their voice yet. Born out of the noughties’ guitar boom, they have grown up from lo-fi garage, to acoustic folk, to indie synth-pop.
The new record is crowded with layers of riffs and vocals, at risk of being over-produced. The sound makes an exciting opener in Overdone, with an Eastern influenced flute motif. An electric guitar solo brings it right back down to earth in the crescendo. Second single It’s Alright Now keeps this driving force up with an energetic drumbeat and more of that woodwind section. Carry Me is the closest Bombay have ever come to dance, with a beat like remixed early Bloc Party. It anticipates a change in tone for their upcoming tour, which comes to Glasgow and Aberdeen in the beginning of March. The mosh-pits of their early days will probably be replaced by an underground disco crowd.
Whenever, Wherever and Eyes Off You slow things down to a mid-album lull with a mournful mood and high-pitched piano parts. Luna is a catchy stand-out track, aided by vocals from singer-songwriter Rae Morris. Following in the footsteps of long-running collaborator Lucy Rose, who is also present on the album, Morris first met the band as a fan after a gig (look out for her new solo single Skin.)
Steadman spent his pre-recording break traveling in rural Holland, India and Turkey. He also partook in Africa Express, a musical project set up to combine the talents of African and Western artists on a range of tracks and tours. He told the NME how these influences affected the song-writing process: “We were getting more inspired by samples. They become the springboard for your song and, whether it’s an Indian song or something with Thai chanting.”
Feel, one of the high points of the album, reflects a Bhangra sound, in the same vein as Alt J’s album track Taro. Last track So Long, See You Tomorrow is one final dance reprise, bringing together echoes from various songs alongside a nineties-style vocal sample and an electronic keyboard.
The album has a repetitive overall sound which would be boring if it was not so busy. However, as an album for flat party background noise or personal Zen time, it will be perfect. Bombay Bicycle Club have never failed to deliver, ensuring that for a long time yet we will see them tomorrow.