- 24 Jan 20
Uber-catchy return from London quartet.
Five years ago, Bombay Bicycle Club effectively called it a day after a triumphant hometown show at London’s Earls Court, celebrating So Long, See You Tomorrow, their fourth album and first to go to No.1. They subsequently went their separate ways, two of them releasing solo projects, but the lure of making music together proved too strong. Suitably refreshed after a five-year hiatus, the quartet of Jack Steadman, Jamie MacColl, Suren de Saram and Ed Nash subsequently recorded this fifth album over three weeks in LA, with John Congleton (St Vincent, Wild Beasts) behind the production desk.
“I guess I’ve found my peace again and yes I’ve found my second wind,” sings Steadman on the title track, and it feels like a statement of intent for the band, who perhaps lost their way a little on recent releases. It’s one of the highlights here, a tuneful meditation on how music can be a constant when everything else in your life falls to shit: “Keep the stereo on, everything else has gone wrong.”
The hypnotic ‘Let You Go’ perhaps outstays its welcome a little, while ‘I Can Hardly Speak’ isn’t going to set too many pulses racing, but in the main, this is the sound of band relocating their soul.
The quartet sound rejuvenated, from the sparkly pop of opener ‘Get Up’, through the dreamy ‘People People’, a duet with long-time collaborator Liz Lawrence, and the delicate chimes of ‘Good Day’, all hand-claps and laidback vocals. Comeback single ‘Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)’ harks back to the catchy, fuzzy, electro-tinged indie-pop that first captured imaginations, as does the bouncy ‘Is It Real’, complete with military drum tattoo. ‘I Worry Bout You’ is all busy beats and beautiful brass. They even manage to incorporate a flute sample on ‘Do You Feel Loved?’, a song about fishing for ‘likes’ on social media, without it sounding twee.
Ironically, for a band sounding revitalised, brilliant closer ‘Racing Stripes’, featuring vocals from singer/songwriter Billie Marten, is probably the most world-weary they have ever sounded. A welcome return.
Pick up your copy of the Hot Press Hot For 2020 issue now!