Review: Bombay Bicycle Club, I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose

WEDNESDAY, 14 OCTOBER 2009

Bombay Bicycle Club – I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose

When writing about something it is important, maybe vital, that you read around the subject in order to have a full understanding of what you’re talking about – or blag it. So when i clicked on Bombay Bicycle Club (BBC)’s “About” section on their website, and found out they hadn’t written anything, the only option i had left was to blag it. Yes, actually use my brain to string a few intellectual sentences together by myself. I can do this, I’m a big boy now.

 
If you’re even just mildly interested in new music you would have undoubtedly heard about BBC for a while now even though this is their debut album – they’ve released a few singles here and there. This is mainly due to the fact they have only just finished school. Then, they faced the difficult choice between studying Geography in-depth, or becoming world wide superstars. Maybe. Its a toughy, and as much as rocks can sometimes consume me with excitement i would possibly have to side with the “rockers”.
 
Enough small talk, lets take this further. The Album. In a nutshell its pretty darn good. The opener “emergency contraception blues” – obviously about how music from the Deep South can be used as a suitable method of preventing pregnancy – is a fantastic way to start the album and as it builds you can sense the atmosphere that would continue throughout. It is predominantly guitar based but does not really fit into any label safely. What i found is that often the songs would take a completely different direction after a couple of minutes and then come back to the original variation when they got bored, or tired perhaps. This also compliments the fact there are no set “guitar solos” with often the whole band going-off-on-one.
 
Because it is all quite different, following no set pattern, the songs have a tendency to blur into each other making one of the best points of their music, actually their possible downfall. Because of its unpredictability, occasionally it is hard to grasp which song you are actually listening to! Instead of recognising lyrics, you recognise guitar riffs and hum along to those rather than the lyrical melody. In this sense the guitar riffs become an essential part of their songwriting and just as important as the melody.
 
‘Evening/Morning’ provides a bassline ‘solo’ that even Muse would be pleased with. Again the style changes half-way through and provides that difficult what-song-is-this-again? feel that I’m not sure if I completely enjoy. Ahh unpredictability – who’d have thought it? Overall, the vocals are strong and the atmospheric sounds could be compared to the noises Joy Divion/British Sea Power/Editors have been making/made over the years.
 
Just one problem.
I’m a little bit bored with it. Possibly hypocritical after stating how varied the sounds are, its a hard one to define, i need a catchy melody. Because the songs tend to ‘tart about a bit’ it never really reaches a climax, they almost sound like over-produced demos. On a more positive note: the drummer has an amazing name: “Suren de Saram”. He’s not too shabby at drums either, but don’t let that distract you from his name now. Back to the music. Damn i wish they all had cool names, would lighten this up a tad.
 
“The Hill” is the most striking song on the album and delivers a fantastic catchy chorus. Ah. That little adjective. “Catchy”. They need to take that word and spread it all over there work with a metaphorical butter knife.
 
It’s not going to be a massive success, it didn’t chart brilliantly, nor have the singles made any impact on the charts – but when have indie bands taken notice of that? When their monthly phone bill comes round, thats when. Point being, they could have done with a hit. Considering the build up to this. But its a good solid start, and with a bit of development could become an important band before too long. A good guitar album.
 
7/10
 
Top Three Tracks:
 
1. The Hill
2. Cancel On Me
3. Ghost
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