Album Review: Bombay Bicycle Club – ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’
Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on February 5, 2014
Bombay Bicycle Club have had me in all sorts since I first discovered them two years ago. Like many others, ‘How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep’ was my starting point and it remains my favourite road trippin’ song to date, and one of my favourites of all time. After realising how much more there was to their catalogue, I became obsessed by both I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose and A Different Kind of Fix – admittedly I haven’t given Flaws enough of a crack, but there’ll be time for that. This leads me to Bombay Bicycle Club’s latest offering, So Long, See You Tomorrow, which I’ve only been attempting to fully digest over the last week. They’ve said in numerous interviews that with each of their records they want to shake it up and continually take their tunes in new and exciting directions.
This change of mood could not have been more adequately supported than by lead single ‘Carry Me’. The percussion and synth is what I noticed first and they’ve really taken to the voice modulation which they first flirted with in I Had The Blues And I Shook Them Loose. It’s really dancy too and for some reason I hear hints of ‘One’ by Swedish House Mafia somewhere in there. But before all this, there’s an absolutely cracking opener in ‘Overdone’, featuring a massive guitar riff that wakes you up straight away. ‘It’s Alright Now’ was more in the same vein as A Different Kind of Fix, however production-wise, everything seems a lot tighter and more layered. There’s so much going on in this record, so listen with some good headphones. Also, for the shoegazers out there, there’s a intro in ‘Come To Me’ that reminds me of the feeling I get when I listen to Coldplay’s ‘Yes’ from their mostly forgotten about album Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends. (insert My Bloody Valentine reference here… however accurate it is.)
‘Luna’ was the last single released before the record was due and it’s by far my favourite track of the year so far. Incredible scenes. The vocals feature Rae Morris and I have to say that she takes the track to the nek level. It’s just beautiful. Each track builds and builds in their own way, and as like the rest of their records end with often manic yet tight instrumental breakouts, but there seems to be a more of an anthemic, epic quality to each of the tracks on So Long, See You Tomorrow. In an interview with our sister website scenewave.com, Suren (drummer) stated that many of the tunes carry a Turkish influence – lead-man Jack spent a bit of time in Turkey whilst seeking inspiration for this record – and they even throw a marimba in there, which is fresh for these guys. See ‘Feel’ for more on this. ‘Whenever Wherever’ may be the next best track after ‘Luna’; a perfect fusion of the aforementioned latin and middle-Eastern influences with the delicate synth-guitar-pop these guys have so successfully made their own in the last few years. And again, wait for the massive instrumental freak-out at the end!
That said, there are certainly some extremely touching and gentle moments on So Long, See You Tomorrow, one of them being the stunning ‘Eyes Off You’, which for the most part just features Jack and Rae crooning with a piano, with some light strings in the background. Jack’s songwriting really has gone to a new level. For those of you familiar with Bombay Bicycle Club’s stuff, it won’t surprise you to hear that they save one of the most intimate tracks for last, the title track ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’ – but for the first time on their records, there isn’t anything reminiscent of the opening track in the closer. I’m actually glad about this, because there’s nothing I’d change about the last song, just when you think the show’s over they come on for a big finale, with that off-beat, syncopated percussion that sums up the record very well.
I don’t want it to be premature of me – which wouldn’t be particularly out of character – but I think this may be Bombay Bicycle Club’s greatest, most multi-dimensional album to date; there’s something extremely complex about it, whilst at the same time retaining its indie-pop sensibilities. It’s an amazing album for a road trip, bike ride or anywhere with a beautiful view. It’ll certainly get you going back to their earlier stuff and remind you what you’ve been missing!