Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow Review

 

Bombay Bicycle Club

Bombay Bicycle Club have altered their sound in some way with each of their previous three albums, but it would seem that their new fourth album see’s them take on their biggest change of sound and style. Their changing ways have been criticised from varying angles as not having any identity or soul while also being accused as changing for the sake of it and the songs being hollow and lifeless as a result. In many ways I think this criticism is a little unfair while perhaps having a point. With the sate music is in at the moment; we should all be thankful for the fact they are altering their sound even if it isn’t entirely original. Perhaps that is what the critics are picking up on. I do think that perhaps it is time to put their efforts into a fresh and exciting sound and master it rather than rolling through different things that have already been done in some form or another. Hopefully this will be the case so their sound can match their talent.

With ‘Carry Me’ it seems that they might have done just that. They’ve produced a song that opens with whirring samples and synths before the guitars and dual percussion come in. It goes into the chorus with the fine jangling of guitars and the deeper churning of synths that, along with the cymbals; expand and spread the sound out well. The vocals do this in their repetitive and faded out manner. The softer quality does just enough to sit higher than the music but blend into the sounds with ease too. It has a fluctuating and rapid style leaves you at the mercy of the chorus with the infectious beat and rhythm before pulling you through the gradual and on edge build up of sound that is led by the vocals through the verses. There is a lot of sounds and textures going on but they are much controlled than perhaps they have been in the past. Each sound is isolated on its own but blends with others cleanly instead of a mad cacophony of sounds. A great move in the right direction. ‘Luna’ opens in a light and airy fashion with the soft vocal with which everything sounds a little muffled. It soon develops into a 80’s pop track with the rise and fall of the bass lines and the traditional backing vocals. They go and take on their own role to help drive the song. The shimmering synths and the pop like vocals and harmonies make it a refined piece of pop music, if not as refined and profound as ‘Carry Me’. Having said that it does open a new and happier tone against the more serious disciplined opening single.

‘It’s Alright Now’ starts with the light flow of synths and the echoed and drawn out vocal. There is another great culmination to the ultimate sound with the introduction of the bass and the extra vocals in the background. The whole affair is a spacious and feathery experience and perhaps even more so than ‘Luna’. Slow, bouncy synths open the title track. After this the soft and wavering vocals embark a wave of slow atmospheric illusion before the percussion is brought in. From this the synths become much sharper and cut through the atmosphere and a dance track emerges from it with the repetitive backing vocals. The lead doesn’t react to the upturn of tone and gets drowned out slightly, but then it becomes the point of continuity as the song shifts and moves to different places. Its unconventional but effective. ‘Home By Now’ evokes a style similar to that of hip hop turned pop tune. Again the vocals and the general clashes of sound are easy on the ear and packed with sugary melody but intercepted with a deeper feel. There is a slight feel that there is too many muted and subdued moments and they do seem to drag a little and still lack and deeper feel to get lost up in. It is an excellent album that is produced with great consideration and understanding and one that has just enough variations to keep you as on edge as you were with ‘Carry Me’. As an album it progresses wonderfully and is probably the best so far this year. There is a long way to go though…

Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow = 8.5/10

Photo:

Images from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-24805462 / //www.nme.com

Tracks of 2013 – Top 10

It is now time to wrap up the year of music 2013 has given us and what better way to start than with my top 10 tracks of the year. Out of the top 10 there have been tracks that have struck me for their imagination, innovation, risk-taking, melodic mastery and so on. They come from worldwide heavyweights to the more obscure crafters of music and they’ve all been picked from those I have looked at, so please don’t despair if there are any missing artists as they might just have passed me by this year.

10. Paul McCartney – Appreciate

 

Yes. He is 71. Yes. It is from his album New. No. It isn’t what you are thinking. If you look upon McCartney’s 2013 album; full of nostalgic forays into the past decades of his career, then you’ll see that the man of innovation and risk taking is still there. Appreciate is a hidden gem within the New album. It’s neo-psychedlica curled around a hip hop beat and it has more freshness about it than many of the young artists releasing music this year. That is either a sign of McCartney’s prowess or a sign of the lack of it amongst the new musicians of today. http://youtu.be/3Aq-iiDXo7I

9. Gaz Coombes – Buffalo

Despite plying his Britpop trade around 20 years ago, Gaz is probably making the most profound and elaborate music of his career. Buffalo is to be a single off his upcoming album which is he is currently working on. If this track is anything to go by then he looks set to expand upon the firm foundations of his debut album from 2012. A dramatic and atmospheric glow as the song progresses through it’s stages of varied tone. http://youtu.be/xi8AH-peorY

8. Arctic Monkeys – Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?

They perhaps needed to do something bold and different after many saw their fourth album as their comparative worst effort. What I like about this track is that it’s not obviously crammed with reverbing guitars or with Alex Turner rapidly delivering his vocal around it. There’s no hint of desert rock here either. It’s driven by a different source which gives the song an indelible groove while giving it bags of space for a more developed and tuneful vocal from Alex. Perfect example of less being more in terms of production. http://youtu.be/2spbZbOPu_w

7. Daft Punk featuring Julian Casablancas – Instant Crush

This one of the best tracks off Random Access Memories and it best combines the 70’s and 80’s influences with the typical Daft Punk sound and style. Throw in Julian Casalancas and you have one of the most tuneful and melodic tracks they’ve ever produced. You’re left vulnerable to the plucked, churning of the rhythm much like Andy Summers of The Police produced with Every Breath You Take in 1983. The vocoded vocal is poised in perfect balance to the synths and you can still detect the character of Julian’s voice beneath it. A fantastic piece of electro pop and a change of direction that worked for Daft Punk. http://youtu.be/a5uQMwRMHcs

6. Bombay Bicycle Club – Carry Me

Bombay Bicycle Club

A great progression of their music was suggested with Carry Me. Retaining the elements that make them successful is key and they did that. But the re-evaluation was not only needed but works to great results. A mix of subtlety and sheer boldness. All the fine raw elements clashing with the bold industrial sounds while still forging a great spacious and floating harmony and atmosphere. The result of a complex song being instantly accessible through recording skill. http://youtu.be/OZCfqhRgJ0Q

5. Savages – Husbands

Dark, angry , gritty and everything else. This song features the deep rooted bass line which remains about the only constant throughout. Above it is the grinding and screeching guitars with the clashing percussion. Smashing through it are the snarling and bold vocals that evoke a real raw and emotive feel that is shoved right up into your face http://youtu.be/rmJ_mcvRQsI

4. TOY – Endlessly

TOY followed their debut with a solid second effort in Join The Dots. It gave them a chance to refine and let their sound grow with Endlessly being the prime example of that. That theme of organised chaos holds true again here, yet it is directed into a more distinguished melody which makes it all the more enjoyable. Wonderfully spaced out and atmospheric despite the various elements in action. http://youtu.be/o1Yre4Gmb-E

3. Jagwar Ma – Man I Need

Man I Need’ is one of the standout tracks from Howlin which instantly sets the tone with the psychedelic whirring along with the wide scope and relaxed urgency of the percussion which is pretty typical of a psychedelic style. The rhythm makes an indelible groove, the percussion plies at it too. Also a magnificent clash of influences to create something new. A standout track from a standout album. http://youtu.be/K8KCPw9kYpo

2. The Knife – Full of Fire

This brother and sister duo from Sweden took the traditional notions of song structure, style and context and shredded them into a million pieces. They didn’t just progress their sound to the next level, but to the next light-year. It’s deep, dark and gritty. The industrial grinding of the lower pitched synths and set against the flashing synths sounds above them. The vocals combine with the instrumentals in such a eerie and unfamiliar way that it is at times a wonderfully terrifying experience. The fact it is a ten minute affair only enhances it as you lay on edge at each development of sound. It is almost too advanced to contemplate for some. But at least we now have a possible avenue for musical progression instead of recycling the last 50 years to no end. http://youtu.be/DoH6k6eIUS4

1. Rose Elinor Dougall – Future Vanishes

I have to admit that I initially had this track placed further down the top ten. But only after I listened to all the tracks again did I realise that this song was still ingrained in my mind. It then hit me that this track actually fulfils all the criteria I asked for. It has melodies and hook at every turn, it has a magnificent atmospheric quality to it, imaginative in it’s forms and lyrics and innovative in terms of combining pop and electronic features to a psychedelic track. On top of all this is it’s beautiful contradiction of its self. It can send you into an atmospheric and psychedelic trip into the depths of your thoughts or can leave you at the mercy of it’s rhythm and deep rooted groove. It does everything you ask for. Why shouldn’t this track top my list? Is it because she doesn’t sell out arenas or headline Reading and Leeds, or grace the top of the charts? I don’t think so. That’s not what I’m about, but this song is. http://youtu.be/JUqVhh0kuNA

Single Review – Bombay Bicycle Club – Carry Me

Bombay Bicycle Club

Bombay Bicycle Club are to move on to their fourth albeit unexpected album in 2014. Their previous three have consisted very much of modern day Indie and folk influences in general and a fourth album is a good a time as any for a rethink or a change of perspective and with the first single ‘Carry Me’; it seems that they might have done just that. They’ve produced a song that opens with whirring samples and synths before the guitars and dual percussion come in. It goes into the chorus with the fine jangling of guitars and the deeper churning of synths that, along with the cymbals; expand and spread the sound out well. The vocals do this in their repetitive and faded out manner. The softer quality do just enough to sit higher than the music but blend into the sounds with ease too. Some have been pretty sceptical about the change of direction, but I think groups should be encouraged to do such a thing. Even more so when it works as well as it has done for them.

http://youtu.be/MHv74-9tfYE

Image from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-24805462