Bombay Bicycle Club, North London's most prolific and underrated band, released their fourth album in five years on February 4th through Vagrant Records. This album looks to break exciting new ground yet again for a band that are effortlessly diversifying and innovating at an astonishing rate.
"I feel like we've found the balance between making it interesting and intelligent, but also not highbrow or elitist," says Jack Steadman, noting the band specifically took longer to craft this album. He wrote the record while traveling through India, Turkey and Tokyo as well as the UK and the Netherlands; you can really hear the influence of all the different cultures and their native genres among the beautifully crafted songs on this hugely ambitious record.
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. "The whole creation process was a really honest one. Jack's not afraid of us saying a part or lyric doesn't work so we were able to all be very involved at every level‚" says guitarist Jamie MacColl. They called in Mark Rankin (in top form having recently mixed QOTSA "Like Clockwork" and AlunaGeorge "Body Music") to help record and mix the album. The album also features familiar vocal contribution from Lucy Rose as well as impressive newcomer Rae Morris.
The straightforward guitar patterns have gone out the window and in their place a juxtaposition of tough, offbeat rhythms with shimmering keys, techno blips as well as Bollywood movie samples over exotic instruments like the marimba (played by drummer and percussionist Suren de Saram). It is a record that is almost impossible to categorize and without doubt a defining record for a band that are not even halfway through their twenties.
A snapshot of Bombay Bicycle Club's history throws up even more unexpected revelations of a band who have quietly become one of the most successful young British bands of their generation. They released their first album "I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose" in 2008 and shortly afterwards won the NME New Band Award beating The XX and Mumford & Sons. They followed this up midway through 2010 with Flaws, which was nominated for an Ivor Novello. Their most recent album, "A Different Kind Of Fix‚" was released in August 2011 and like its predecessors, went gold seeing the band's fan base increase exponentially, culminating in various major main stage festival slots including the Reading and Leeds Festival and a sold out Alexandra Palace headline show.
The first single from the new album, "Carry Me‚" is available to purchase/download today (http://smarturl.it/carryme) and is a monumental fists in the air dance anthem that is probably the band's most daring, explosive and exciting departure yet from their previous work. The band collaborated with award-winning creative company Powster to deliver a world first interactive music video premiere on www.carryme.tv. You can also stream the audio in it's entirety here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHv74-9tfYE The innovative video reflects the album artwork, paying homage to the great Eadweard Muybridge, known for his pioneering work with stop-motion photography; this echoes the theme of "continuity" which the album is subtly based around; essentially it is a series of beautiful melodies built around clever loops, all in one giant loop. Viewers are able to control the band's actions throughout, essentially making them the director while the band perform in time to the music.
What does this all mean? "I think in terms of the album, there's a romantic side of it," says Jack. "There's a relationship that always seems like it's in the lurch and ending, but it prevails nonetheless." A metaphor for the band? "I hope not!" says Jamie. "I do think it ties into our lack of cynicism, though. More than on any of our other albums, there is a feeling of hopefulness."