Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
THE title of Bombay Bicycle Club’s fourth album in five years may suggest a farewell of sorts but fear not… this is the sound of a band in their prime who continue to go from strength to strength.
So Long, See You Tomorrow is a wondrous journey and a surefire contender for one of the album’s of the year. It’s also yet another indication of a band that never rests on its laurels, and which is always seeking to evolve and offer something different.
Penned by multi-talented frontman Jack Steadman – who wrote the record while travelling through India, Turkey, Europe and Tokyo – the ensuing sound is noticeably awash with references from each of these cultures. It’s also celebratory of life’s richness and diversity, even if there remains a deliberate ambiguity too.
As Jack explains: “I think there is a romantic side to it, although I always try to leave the meaning side of a song and theme wide open.”
The sound, though, is positively brimming with vitality. It’s an urgent, enriching listen – both vocally and instrumentally. The sound is big. It’s life-affirming.
It’s Alright Now is shot through with thrilling chorus highs and falsetto vocals, while Carry Me evokes memories of the most bustling cities in its percussion elements, albeit with vocals that soar almost as if in between the skyscrapers. It’s epic, complete with swirling guitar riffs.
Earlier, opening track Overdone lays down an immediate marker of its disparate musical influences (on this occasion Bollywood), while Home By Now almost drifts into hip-hop territory – its urgent beats working brilliantly against shimmering piano hooks and a heady sense of the romantic that Steadman mentioned. Vocally, the falsetto notes err towards the ethereal and draw favourable comparisons with bands like Sigur Ros and Death Cab For Cutie. It’s one of the out and out highlights.
Whenever, Wherever, meanwhile, briefly threatens to strip things down for a pensive, even melancholy ballad moment, before suddenly bursting to brilliant life with head-rush beats and synths and echoed harmonies that hit the highest of highs… and which just keep getting grander and grander. It’s the epitome of the word euphoric by the time it reaches its magnificent conclusion.
Luna opens amid more Bollywood influence and has an urgency that’s immediately gratifying (as well as a sound that defies easy comparison with any of Bombay Bicycle Club’s contemporaries), while Eyes Off You again underlines that romantic quality that Steadman talked of – its lush but dusky piano chords working beautifully against a huskier, more brooding central vocal that occasionally bursts into falsetto. It’s deliciously bittersweet too.
Feel re-introduces an Eastern cultural feel (one can imagine a belly dancer accompanying this effort) and once more compels you to want to dance along, while Come To also borrows from Bollywood throughout but also has moments of ambience more akin to Moby. It’s boy-girl vocal exchange is great.
In truth, though, Bombay Bicycle Club don’t put a foot wrong throughout this mesmerising musical journey. So Long, See You Tomorrow is a stunning achievement.
Download picks: It’s Alright Now, Home By Now, Whenever, Wherever, Luna, Eyes Off You, Feel