Bombay Bicycle Club – 'So Long, See You Tomorrow' album review

The north London indie boys come of age on their globetrotting, wide-ranging fourth album



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Time Out Ratings

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

‘Bombay Bicycle Club’ – sounds sort of exotic, doesn’t it? Except that this Crouch End quartet are named after a local chain of Indian restaurants, and have often sounded like their leafy corner of north London: sophisticated but safe. So it’s a surprise when, 20 seconds into the indie heroes’ fourth studio album, an Indian-inspired string crescendo suddenly bursts into sound, like a sunrise reflected in the Taj Mahal.

It turns out that the band’s frontman Jack Steadman has spent the last few years since BBC’s 2011 album ‘A Different Kind of Fix’ travelling the world: India, Turkey, Europe, Tokyo… His globe-trotting experiences are reflected on a confidently eclectic album, written with the sort of fresh perspective that can’t be found on the tube map.

‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’ is an album of expanded horizons, which defies straight-up indie rock. ‘Feel’ loops samples from ’50s Bollywood films underneath Steadman’s trademark shivering vocals, and there’s a grand piano in ‘Eyes Off You’ and a touch of R&B slow jam on ‘Home By Now’. The LP’s title track finishes with a shower of Tetris-like acid house blips that are a long way from the guitar-led shuffle of ‘A Different Kind of Fix’.

Whilst it’s still a Bombay Bicycle Club album at heart, ‘So Long…’ marks a point at which the group’s sound has become both expansive and brilliantly refined. You’ll need to pinch yourself to remember that all of this comes from a band that, back in 2006, were tagged as jangly indie school-leavers fit only for a teenage mixtape. It’s not just those exotic samples that show far they’ve travelled.

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