20 February, 2014 in Music Reviews
Album four sees Bombay Bicycle Club enhancing the electronic tinge that made ‘A Different Kind Of Fix’ such a treat
hough it’s a saying that’s been thrown out many times, hindsight truly is a wonderful thing. Eight years ago a group of 15-year-olds with a shared appreciation of post-punk and the neo-pop stylings of Orange Juice entered Virgin Mobile’s Road To V competition. As one of the two victors, they secured the opening slot on the 2006 V Festival and set themselves on a career trajectory that sees Bombay Bicycle Club as arguably the most challenging and progressive band operating at the top end of the charts.
From the opening moments of So Long, See You Tomorrow, it’s clear that album number four is a logical progression from its predecessor, floating in the same electronic-tinged air that lifted A Different Kind Of Fix above the heads of its peers. Beginning with Overdone, BBC sound as though they’re covering Bonobo’s Black Sands, while at the same time encouraging Nathan Fake to possess a little more bounce. This sense of spring is seen throughout the album, such as in the 80s synth-pop of Luna.
Indeed, this may be the catchiest BBC have been since album number one. It’s certainly the poppiest, as seen in tracks like Feel. It’s not just a pop punch that So Long… packs, however: Whenever, Whenever is a near-Rufus Wainwright piano treat and there are other moments of touching splendour. With Lucy Rose reprising the backing vocal role that she’s filled since Flaws, songs such as Home By Now are given a haunting quality. Also entering the fray this time around is Rae Morris, whose voice adds another level of beauty to the album.
Though So Long, See You Tomorrow is a truly brilliant listen first time round, you get the sense that you’ll only truly appreciate its quality at the close of 2014, when the nearing of 2015 forces the hand in the round-up of the year’s finest records. Will the benefit of hindsight see So Long, See You Tomorrow sit atop the lists of 2014’s best albums?
It’s certainly the band’s most mature and considered work to date, something evidenced by tracks like Eyes Of You. Whether it’s the colossal work of musical excellence that the band have hinted at since I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose is something that only closer scrutiny over the coming months will reveal.
Verdict: Bombay Bicycle Club return with arguably their finest work to date