Bombay Bicycle Club Return with a Wake-Up Call

Photo: Courtesy of Shore Fire Media

British indie pop-rockers, Bombay Bicycle Club chronicle the struggle to maintain hope in dark times on Everything Else Has Gone Wrong, their first album since 2014.

Everything Else Has Gone Wrong
Bombay Bicycle Club

Caroline / Island

17 January 2020

Everything Else Has Gone Wrong, the comeback album by British indie pop-rock band Bombay Bicycle Club, might be 2020's first great "early morning listening" album. The album is a warm collection of songs with lyrics that focus on finding hope in a sometimes dark world. The songs, built on beds of electronics and electric guitars, rock gently, but they do, in fact, rock. Everything Else Has Gone Wrong even opens with a short, swirling track called "Get Up". How much more of a wake-up call do you need?

The mere existence of a new Bombay Bicycle Club album might have been surprising, up until about one year ago. Formed when members Jack Steadman, Jamie MacColl, Suren de Saram, and Ed Nash were on the younger side of being teenagers, way back in 2005, Bombay Bicycle Club won a popular British battle of the bands competition, which eventually led to the release of their debut album, I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose in 2009.

Bombay Bicycle Club released three other well-received and musically varied albums through to 2014, at which point the band announced they were taking an indefinite hiatus. Bombay Bicycle Club emerged from their break in 2019, celebrating the tenth anniversary of their debut album, and gradually teasing songs that have found a home on Everything Else Has Gone Wrong.

Musically, Everything Else Has Gone Wrong finds Bombay Bicycle Club fitting in nicely with contemporaneous bands from Wilco to Editors to Vampire Weekend, among others. Whether intentional or not, influences from earlier pop bands peek through as well. Brief bits of "Is It Real", for example, might remind certain listeners of both A Flock of Seagulls and ABBA.

Two of the songs debuted last year are among the best tracks on the album. The title song is a statement of purpose for both the band as a whole and for Steadman particularly, who repeats the lyric, "I guess I've found my peace again, and yes, I've found my second wind", until it becomes a mantra for both himself and the listener. "Keep the stereo on, everything else has gone wrong," Steadman notes, indicating that music might be the thing that saves him, and maybe all of us.

"Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)", another album highlight, was the first song to debut last year. While simply reading the lyrics could lead one to think that "Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)" is one of those deceptively creepy songs, the luminous music suggests a more innocent longing, with "awkward hearts beating faster and faster". "Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)" seems closer to the spirit of Talking Heads' "This Must Be the Place" than it does the Police's "Every Breath You Take".

Throughout Everything Else Has Gone Wrong, the buoyancy of the music balances the darker sentiments of the lyrics. "Worry Bout You" finds Steadman fretting over someone who is lost, but the lilting music implies that there is hope for the lost soul in question. On "Good Day", another toe-tapper, Steadman muses that he would quit his job if he had a job, and then notes that "I just want to have a good day / And it's only me that's standing in my way."

The struggle to maintain hope extends to the album's last track, "Racing Stripes". Steadman ends the hymn-like song by repeating another mantra: "This light will keep me going / And I don't even know wherever I may go / This light will keep me going."

Getting up and getting on with one's life each day can be tough, but maybe a little music can help. If so, Bombay Bicycle Club is well-equipped to help with Everything Else Has Gone Wrong.





The 60 Best Albums of 2007

From tech house to Radiohead and Americana to indie and everything in between, the 60 best albums of 2007 included many of the 2000s' best albums.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Solitude Stands in the Window: Thoreau's 'Walden'

Henry David Thoreau's Walden as a 19th century model for 21st century COVID-19 quarantine.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Will COVID-19 Kill Movie Theaters?

Streaming services and large TV screens have really hurt movie theaters and now the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered multiplexes and arthouses. The author of The Perils of Moviegoing in America, however, is optimistic.

Gary D. Rhodes, Ph.D

Fleabag's Hot Priest and Love as Longing

In season two of Fleabag, The Priest's inaccessibility turns him into a sort of god, powerful enough for Fleabag to suddenly find herself spending hours in church with no religious motivation.


Annabelle's Curse's 'Vast Oceans' Meditates on a Groundswell of Human Emotions (premiere)

Inspired by love and life, and of persistent present-day issues, indie folk band Annabelle's Curse expand their sound while keeping the emotive core of their work with Vast Oceans.


Americana's Sarah Peacock Finds Beauty Beneath Surface With "Mojave" (premiere + interview)

Born from personal pain, "Mojave" is evidence of Sarah Peacock's perseverance and resilience. "When we go through some of the dry seasons in our life, when we do the most growing, is often when we're in pain. It's a reminder of how alive you really are", she says.


Power Struggle in Beauty Pageants: On 'Mrs. America' and 'Miss Americana'

Television min-series Mrs. America and Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana make vivid how beauty pageants are more multi-dimensional than many assume, offering a platform to some (attractive) women to pursue higher education, politics, and more.

Hilary Levey Friedman

Pere Ubu 'Comes Alive' on Their New, Live Album

David Thomas guides another version of Pere Ubu through a selection of material from their early years, dusting off the "hits" and throwing new light on some forgotten gems.


Woods Explore Darkness on 'Strange to Explain'

Folk rock's Woods create a superb new album, Strange to Explain, that mines the subconscious in search of answers to life's unsettling realities.


The 1975's 'Notes on a Conditional Form' Is Laudably Thought-Provoking and Thrilling

The 1975 follow A Brief Inquiry... with an even more intriguing, sprawling, and chameleonic song suite. Notes on a Conditional Form shows a level of unquenchable ambition, creativity, and outspoken curiosity that's rarely felt in popular music today.


Dustbowl Revival's "Queen Quarantine (A Home Recording)" Is a Cheeky Reproach of COVID-19 (premiere)

Inspired by John Prine, Dustbowl Revival's latest single, "Queen Quarantine (A Home Recording)", approaches the COVID-19 pandemic with wit and good humor.


The 2020 US Presidential Election Is Going to Be Wild but We've Seen Wild Before

Americans are approaching a historical US presidential election in unprecedented times. Or are they? Chris Barsanti's The Ballot Box: 10 Presidential Elections That Changed American History gives us a brief historical perspective.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.