fri 14/08/2020

Album: Bombay Bicycle Club - Everything Else Has Gone Wrong | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Bombay Bicycle Club - Everything Else Has Gone Wrong

Album: Bombay Bicycle Club - Everything Else Has Gone Wrong

All grown up now, and back on their bikes

Back pedalling: Bombay Bicycle Club's first album since an indefinite hiatus

Bombay Bicycle Club have a knack for quasi-prophetic titles. Their fourth album, So Long, See You Tomorrow, released in February 2014, turned out to be their last, at least for a while. For when the accompanying tour concluded at London’s Earls Court – the final event before the wrecking ball deprived London of another iconic venue – the band decided they’d had enough.

They’d come together at school in north London and “after ten years of doing this we thought it was time for all of us to try something else”. Bassist Ed Nash released a solo album, singer-guitarist Jack Steadman immersed himself in jazz and hitched a ride on a cargo ship across the Pacific, enjoying karaoke with the crew. Guitarist Jamie MacColl took degrees in war studies and philosophy, and made a documentary on protest music, while launching a campaign group to give under-30s a say in Brexit negotiations. (Grandparents Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger would surely approve.) Suren de Saram, who co-founded the band with MacColl, became a session drummer.

The “indefinite hiatus” ended and the band regrouped, buying back all their expensive gear. Their fifth album contains one excellent piece of advice for these grim times: “Keep the stereo on, everything else has gone wrong”. It’s from the song that gives the album its title and it was the last song to be written. Produced by the Grammy-winning John Congleton and recorded in LA and London, Everything Else Has Gone Wrong is, says Steadman, an album for “anyone who’s ever turned to music in a time of need”.

Despite the title and a discernible undercurrent of millennial angst, this is a largely upbeat album, with a big sound and a big beat and lots of close, satisfyingly tight almost ethereal harmonies, sung over drone-style accompaniments, swirling keyboards and insistent repeating motifs. Each of BBC’s albums has been very different one from the other – Flaws (2010) was a pleasing acoustic affair featuring covers of songs by Joanna Newsom and John Martyn – and this one returns somewhat to the band’s roots. Sort-of back to the future, perhaps not surprisingly given that hiatus.

It’s interesting, but not riveting, the pace and mood varied, yet the songs are somehow formulaic and derivative. A curate’s egg: good, ish, in parts – and much may depend on the appeal or otherwise of Steadman’s voice. “I’ve found my second wind” he sings on the title track. I’m all for keeping the stereo on, at all times – I’m just not sure Everything Else Has Gone Wrong cuts it, however the times.

A curate’s egg: good, ish, in parts – and much may depend on the appeal or otherwise of Steadman’s voice

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Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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