Bombay Bicycle Club: “So Long, See You Tomorrow”

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Bombay Bicycle Club

So Long, See You Tomorrow

[Island Records, 2014]

by Taylor Gilliam

Ever since their splash onto the scene in the 1960s best known as the British Invasion, musicians from the UK have gained popularity and prominence to match—and sometimes outmatch—their American counterparts.  This was in part due to Beatles culture, but credit is also given to The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and The Who.   Fast forward a few decades, and British bands like Arctic Monkeys and Oasis have taken the scene by storm.  England has become a hot spot for alternative music: magazines like London-based NME delivers music news through a weekly magazine and a constantly active Twitter account (@NME), festivals like Glastonbury are growing every year, and it’s the home of the best music journalism schools one can attend.  It’s no surprise, then, that the Brits of Bombay Bicycle Club were swept up in the whirlwind and launched into global success.

So Long, See You Tomorrow is the fourth studio album from this indie rock/electropop group, and it has the familiar focuses of melodies and atmosphere that define their sound.  However, new influences from travels to India and Turkey (the guys played with a Turkish wedding band at one point) can be heard from the very beginning: in the first track, “Overdone,” which builds nicely as every opener should.  They have also plugged back in after a previous acoustic phase, but the album represents an evolution rather than a drastic change.

The tracks as a whole tell the story of a lost love, from the fight to how it all went wrong to reliving the good moments that are worth missing.  “Our love is getting low, lighting cracks in the road,” Jack Steadman sings on “Carry Me,” summing up the problem but dwelling on it five tracks later: “I can see you with my eyes shut, you’re running in my head and I can’t keep up.”  Fortunately for us, though, it is less lamenting and more acknowledging.  It is a Bombay Bicycle Club album, after all.  Its officially released single (“Luna”) can’t feature synchronized swimmers in its music video and be a melancholy song.  It can’t, and it isn’t.  In fact, you’ll want to belt out the chorus as soon as you learn it and dance as best as you can.

Hidden among the expected types of songs are a couple curveballs.  “Home By Now” feels more like lounge music, definitely R&B, even a little sultry with its ambient samples.  On a completely different note is “Feel,” with heavy Indian influences and some of my favorite lyrics on the album.  Unexpected percussion enters occasionally, as does simple piano, proving the group’s love for experimentation with their sound.

So Long is another step on the musicians’ quest for exploration and expression.  They are staying dynamic, for they don’t feel the need to remain within one narrow genre, but each album complements the others.  This one takes risks, too.  And it will reap rewards.

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