With the bitter chill of February rattling windows throughout the northeastern United States, there is a hopeful reprieve found in “So Long, See You Tomorrow,” the latest album by Bombay Bicycle Club.
“Carry Me,” a single from the band’s fourth release on Island Records, was originally released in November with an interactive video giving viewers control over the band’s movements. The marching-band drumming of “Carry Me” and worldly sampling used throughout the album mark a change in rhythm from the London-based quartet’s 2011 release, “A Different Kind of Fix.”
The song that resonates with me is the second track, “It’s Alright Now.” With its looped but warm vocals and harmonic horns, it quickly pulled me into the hook transported me to a tranquil and transient world.
This infinite osculation of sound ebbs and flows between the album’s 10 tracks. It’s a meandering journey led by the band’s frontman and album producer, Jack Steadman.
This record is full of both old and new sounds mashed together by blending electric and folk music styles. At times it sounds like Kings of Convenience folk meets the symphonic menagerie of Treefight for Sunlight.
If those references are too obscure, it’s got a nice warm tweed jacket feel but it’s not thrift-store quality, it’s a refreshed retread of classic folk in modern indie rock threads. Overall, I found the album to be incredibly personal as well as polished.
This album doesn’t just utilize pretty sounds to capture the attention of listeners but lyrics can seemingly stand alone here.
“Is this the place where it all stems from/ Where it had every right to become/ Step away, step away; stay numb.” – “It’s Alright Now.”
The album was written by Steadman during a trip through India, Turkey, Europe and Toyko, which explains the various includes that permeates through the tracks. “I think there is a romantic side to it, although I always try to leave the meaning side of a song and theme wide open,” said Steadman in a released statement.
Not only did Steadman pen this album, but he also proceeded it in the band’s studio. “The last few years have been spent trying to move towards ‘our sound’, the fact that we have produced the album ourselves has helped a lot,” Steadman said.
For a band made up of 20-somethings, this wordily approach to its music has paid off. On Monday, Feb. 9, “So Long, See yYou Tomorrow,” is at the top spot of the UK charts making this the band’s first number one album.
What makes this album so satisfying to me is its menagerie of sound that takes influence from Turkish jazz horns and Japanese techno and mashes them all up into a unique substance. Songs like “Luna” featuring 80s dance rhythms echoed by female vocals makes this album a joyous discovery on each listen. The video for this track features some of England’s Olympic synchronized swimmers and exemplifies the freewheeling spirit that makes this album possible.
Bombay Bicycle Club has pulled together a wide spectrum of sounds and influences that captures the spirit of restless youth and matured musicianship.
If you’re in the Philadelphia area, you can see Bombay Bicycle Club Wednesday, May 7 at Union Transfer in Philadelphia, Pa. See here for info.