Album Review: Bombay Bicycle Club—”So Long, See You Tomorrow”

By Brandon Benguaich

Bombay is the former name of the city Mumbai located in India. A bicycle is a pedal-powered two-wheeled vehicle. And a club is a group of people associated with a common goal or interest. Bombay Bicycle Club, an indie rock band from London, England, isn’t really any of these things, but I like their music. Their new album So Long, See You Tomorrow was released on February 3, 2014. This album is quite different from their previous studio works, and is indeed a good change. Fun fact: So Long, See You Tomorrow is named after a novel by the American author William Maxwell.

Bombay Bicycle Club has that oh-too-familiar indie sound our incorrigible ears have heard time and time again, but this new album takes a step forward, incorporating many different types of sounds and musical qualities to shape the record. For one, So Long, See You Tomorrow is the first of the band’s albums to be produced purely by a band member (frontman Jack Steadman) and represents his worldly travels during the writing of this album, noticeably influencing his music.

So Long, See You Tomorrow

Album art of So Long, See You Tomorrow

As stated before, So Long, See You Tomorrow is quite different from Bombay Bicycle Club’s previous albums, creating a clear progression from their earlier works to their most recent. A huge difference is that originally Bombay Bicycle Club was very guitar-based, which is especially apparent on their first album, but they have now taken a leap forward whilst pushing their guitars to the background. This is a way Bombay Bicycle Club has distinguished their sound from other popular indie bands; this album features many synths, samples, and sounds, a great example being the album’s single, “Luna.” In the beginning of the track you can hear a worldlier percussive instrumental sample and, after listening to this track over and over, I have come to the conclusion they are sampling various percussion instruments of India, such as the tabla drum, and possibly the chande drum of south India. This is only a sample – there are a lot of other different types of sounds on this album which in turn combine different tones and time signatures not typically heard in popular western music.

Other tracks worth talking about are “Feel,” which begins combining different Indian percussion while adding some other rhythms that give it more of a Bosa Nova feel, and “Carry Me,” just because of its heavy synth-bass and incredible hard-hitting drums. Although it is great that Bombay Bicycle Club combines all of these interesting and worldly sounds into this album, as listeners we have to be careful to not lump all music that isn’t North American into one genre, because, outside of our iPods, there are thousands of different genres and musical cultures that do not neatly fit into the genre of “world music.” Keeping this in mind, I still think this album is great, so join a club, hop on your bicycle, ride to Bombay, and pick up this album. (Island)

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