[7 February 2014]
Bombay Bicycle Club has never been a band to stand still. They’ve experimented with their sound on every album, from the blues influenced I Had the Blues but I Shook Them Loose to the folk infused Flaws. Though their newest album has a lot in common with their third record, A Different Kind of Fix, So Long See You Tomorrow has the band playing with a more psychedelic and polished sound. There are a few songs to avoid here, but So Long has enough instant winners to make it another solid album in Bombay Bicycle Club’s collection.
The first two singles from So Long made Bombay Bicycle Club’s shift to more vibrant sounds apparent. “Luna” was the second single released and is easily the best song on the album. Lifted by gorgeous vocals from UK-based Rae Morris, the song has a tendency to explode in brilliant ways. Just before the first chorus kicks in, Morris’ voice skyrockets, and, when the chorus comes again, Ed Nash’s pounding bass overtakes the lower end. “Carry Me”, the album’s first single, unfortunately comes off as a little too campy with frontman Jack Steadman employing some cringe worthy low register singing. It’s a shame as some of the quitter moments on “Carry Me” reveal some bouncy and catchy keyboard work.
The reaction to “Carry Me” holds over for a good portion of the album. Excellent ideas and segments of music are here, only to be covered up by fluff. “Come To” feels like classic Oasis at its start only to devolve into subpar 80s synth-pop and the chants of “Wherever you want it” are sickly sweet on “Whenever Wherever” and the song’s closing is a reminder of fellow slightly sappy English group Keane.
The rest of the tracks here fall between the two ends of the spectrum, mostly landing on the solid side, thankfully. The string section on opener “Overdone” seems to have been cut from a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical and it works surprisingly well with the song’s sexy strut. “Home By Now” is more R&B than indie, with sampled piano and guitar working their way through a soul filled duet. “Feel” is probably the most adventurous song here as it takes Bollywood influences and scatters them across a slow burning groove.
So Long’s major strength is found in its production. Steadman helmed the production here with mixing and engineering done by Mark Rankin, who worked on Adele’s 21, Florence and the Machine’s Ceremonials
… Like Clockwork. These two work fantastically together, even on So Long’s subpar tracks there are some audiophile worthy moments. A majority of these songs don’t shy away from excess and it’s a small wonder that every part of a song like “Luna” can be picked out and studied.
If So Long is an indication of anything, it’s that Bombay Bicycle Club still haven’t found their sound. And this is one of those rare times where that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Bombay Bicycle Club seems to be content with genre hoping on each of their releases, and perhaps it won’t make for any one great album, but it makes for an entertaining discography.