Bombay Bicycle Club sure know how to start an album off. On their 2009 debut LP (I Had The Blue But I Shook Them Loose), opening track “Emergency Contraception Blues” started with a lovely guitar that sputtered into a burst of energy that set the stage for their now long-standing career as power rockers. On 2011’s A Different Kind of Fix, they open with the beautifully organic atmosphere of “How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep.” It grabbed you for the whole album and gave rise to the feeling that you were floating in bliss. But on 2014’s So Long, See You Tomorrow, they might’ve trumped all of the previous opening moments with the divine “Overdone,” one of the best songs of the year.
So Long See You Tomorrow sees Bombay Bicycle Club incorporate samples and electronic elements more-so than ever. The high pitched whirring effect you hear instantly on “Overdone,” is something that gets explored in other variations on So Long. The track also sees the inclusion of a female vocal from Lucy Rose Parton who appears throughout the record and apeared with the band on the entire tour. So you could say that this is a re-invention of sorts for the band. Or you can looks at it as I do, as an experimentation…something frontman Jack Steadman has led before. Like on 2010 LP Flaws, that saw the band scaling back their excitable approach into something more subdued…like a full-band playing a singer-songwriter’s library. Whether that worked or not is debateable.
But where Flaws might have missed the mark, So Long See You Tomorrow is a highly successful experiment. It peaked at #1 on the UK charts and marked a turning point for the band, to where they’re beginning to cement themselves as a major English pop rock act, following in the foot-steps of bands like Arctic Monkeys and Kaiser Chiefs. This effort from Bombay Bikes is what a good pop rock release should sound like: A coherent confluence of traditional instruments with tasteful digital qualities. And rather than sapping a good band of good songwriting (like a lot of big time releases often do), this record has a distinct creative substance that makes it catchy, yet still cool enough to feel like Steadman and company aren’t holding anything back musically. Enjoy.