Bombay Bicycle Club
It might seem odd to describe Bombay Bicycle Club as veterans given that nobody in the band is older than 24, but this is their fourth album, which is something of a landmark achievement in today's blink-and- you'll-miss-them climate. The Bombay Bicycle Club story is something that isn't meant to happen any more -- a band given the space by their label, Island, to evolve with each release. The album was produced by Jack in the band's studio in London, making it their most personal record to date. There was always purpose from the beginning to bring everything together for this album, to tell a story from the first track through to the finale with everything interconnecting as a complete body of work.
"I feel like we've found the balance between making it interesting and intelligent, but also not highbrow or elitist," says Jack. "You want to satisfy the people who like the technical side of music, but someone listening on the radio should be able to sing along. If you can find that balance, it's incredible."
Bombay Bicycle Club are Jack Steadman, Jamie MacColl, Suren de Saram and Ed Nash. They grew up in north London and signed to Island after leaving secondary school at 18, releasing their guitar-driven debut, I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose, in 2009.
. Their third LP in as many years, A Different Kind of Fix, arrived in 2011. It was broader in scope and ambition, with sampled loops and mellifluous keys, sophisticated rhythms and indie-rock guitars.
The new album is similarly innovative, a beautiful collection of songs that will stand the test of time from a band at the top of its game. The songs are built around ethereal loops that owe more to experimental electronica than to the kind of indie-rock the band was initially known for. In fact, the whole album is one giant loop, because it is bookended with the same melody -- the final song, the beautifully melancholic So long, See You Tomorrow effectively segues back into the triumphant, string-laden opener, Overdone. Compounding the effect is the last lyric the listener hears: "Keep going round and round and round..."
Jack, who writes all the band's songs, can trace his absorption in loops to the first music he made as a 13 year old. It was on old pre-Garage Band software called eJay, a simple program that "was my first introduction to arranging and composing and putting loops together and learning how you needed to be dynamic, and things needed to drop in and out in order to make a song.
"It's interesting because everyone talks about how our albums have been different, but from my point of view, this was there the whole time. I started recording music at 15 on a small setup on my computer -- and if I were to release those demo tapes, they are far more experimental and electronic than any of the Bombay stuff." (This, he attributes to "getting into stuff like Boards of Canada and discovering psychoactive drugs -- a lethal combination!")