Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind of Fix (Island)

September 25, 2011 by  

There’s this warm feeling you get when you hear that Bombay Bicycle Club are to release a new album, and though barely 12 months had passed since the release of ‘Flaws’, this new set of songs form the second album proper from the youngsters from Crouch End.

Their maturity has always belied their years and their mercurial leader Jack Steadman has been penning lush and deep songs when most teenagers haven’t even given a thought to what subjects they’ll be taking as their GCSE’s. The line of progression from their early EPs as embryonic 16 year olds to now, and the fringes of the big leagues has been as direct as anyone could hope for, with last years acoustic-tinged ‘Flaws’ the only visible pit-stop for a band whose musicianship and craft far outweigh what they lack in terms of age.

And though differing intensely from debut album ‘I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose’, with this brand new set of songs they do not miss a beat, not even for a second. In the form of first single, ‘Shuffle’ we are treated to a new, dynamic, slightly nostalgic and brilliantly catchy song, which sets out the stall quite brilliantly. It’s hard to believe that this band has been on the radar for so long, and that Steadman in particular, with his deep, fragile tone has only just cracked his twenties. Though ‘Flaws’ was merely a deviation in terms of sound and never intended to mark the path for the BBC boys, elements of this period do remain. The energetic indie-rock has been set aside and replaced by a different type of dynamism, and you feel that the name ‘A Different Kind of Fix’ was perhaps an easy choice of title on this evidence.

It is good to hear the electric guitars return and there is something very 90’s about the whole ambience on show here; a mixture of American indie and British electro crash and combine in brilliant ways, and give the album its retrospective touches. It is nothing like anything you will have heard for a good 20 years, and even then, it is a struggle to really compare it with anything from that era. The best compliment you could pay the album as a whole is to say that it is entirely new sounding.

‘Shuffle’ and the harmonious opener ‘How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep’ (which made its way via bonus track territory to the most recent Twilight soundtrack) aside, it is hard to pick any real stand outs or obvious singles and even in the context of the album as a whole, these two tracks sit in line and tend not to transcend or overshadow any other. Don’t take that as a negative thing, because it isn’t meant to be. I don’t think for a minute that Bombay Bicycle Club would have it any other way. They’ve got to be happy with the way this album has turned out sonically, but it is never a Mercury contender or is it an alternative chart topper. Maybe releasing an acoustic album was both a blessing and a curse in disguise?

Either way, it has seemed to simultaneously take the pressure off this sophomore effort and also desensitise an expectant indie audience enough to ensure a popular return to the foray for a band that you just can never quite get enough of. Solid effort. Lovely album. Enough said.

[rating:4]


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