With so many submission requests to get through it’s hard to keep track of the popular music which receives plaudits. For much of it, I tend to wonder what all the fuss is about and the portents weren’t looking good when I heard about Bombay Bicycle Club. A group of sensible-looking London boys who decided to switch from grunge-lite to folk and then to arty indie pop/rock within the space of three albums surely speaks of a “this didn’t work but what about this?” type of identity crisis. However, after checking out a few songs by them from album number three, it was clear that they are on to something good and the whole of ‘A Different Kind Of Fix’ definitely reaffirms that hope.
The quartet waste no time in producing something vital. Opener ‘How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep’ glides along a busy but tight mix of rhythms, grooves and Jack Steadman’s peculiarly haunting vibrato. The group then perform with equal distinction on the thrilling ‘Bad Timing’ which manages to combine the twin worlds of grunge and shoegaze and then goes hurtling off somewhere else. Bombay Bicycle Club used to be known for being part of the nu-folk movement, remember!
After this rocket of a start, the quality rarely lets up even if the pace does. For ‘Lights Out, Word Gone’, the song is built around languid guitars and some beautifully male/female harmonies which build and build in to something quite magnificent. Other genius moments arrive via the unique, wonky keyboard riff for ‘Shuffle’, the celebratory ‘Leave It’, a hymnal ‘Fracture’ and ‘Favourite Day’ with its fragrant splashes of colour. Only the over-earnest closer ‘Still’ (although by no means a bad song) sounds a bit out of place.
As much as groups should be encouraged to keep evolving, one hopes that Bombay Bicycle Club will finally settle after three wildly different albums. Having said that, ‘A Different Kind Of Fix’ boasts so many styles it’s hard to categorise them now apart from saying they are an extremely talented group of young musicians who defy comparisons.
Bombay Bicycle Club Official Site