"So long, see you next summer: Bombay Bicycle Club Album Review"

The Spectrum

Album: So Long, See You Tomorrow

Artist: Bombay Bicycle Club

Label:Vagrant Records

Release Date: Feb. 2, 2014


Bombay Bicycle Club's fourth album So Long, See You Tomorrow manages to produce a euphoric feeling of wanderlust and excitement, while simultaneously evoking the nostalgia of long-past summer evenings.

There's no denying that this feeling is exciting, but when this excitement overshadows the music of an album, the music itself can't be that exhilarating. And this is a problem. With its dull enthusiasm, So Long, See You Tomorrow is good - it's just not great.

The album is illogical in its placement - it's a summer album released in the midst of winter. The tracks fail to accumulate and produce an overall sound, even though the songs alone deserve high praise.

The first four tracks of the album are stand-alone EPs that risk being lost in the ambiguous track progression that follows.

"Overdone" may be the heading of the opening track, but its pessimistic titling fails to reflect the finely tuned song. If anything, it is underdone - as the echo begins to fade out the end of the track, you expect a heavy drop. An unexpected drop in the opening track could have taken the listener to a new realm of indie-electro. But the band seems to have steered away from anything too drastic. It's ambitious, but perhaps not brave enough.

"Carry Me" is a track of pure contradiction. The prolonged, smooth vocals are matched with a drum-heavy, electro-pop sound that veers so far from Bombay Bicycle Club's infamous indie-pop sound that the band borders on unrecognizability. But their sound manages to resonate through the reverberating electronic keyboard and into the forefront - Steadman's repetitive lyrics.

While "Carry Me" is the epitome of the band's new direction, "Come To" gives the listener a sound that is closer to the old Bombay Bicycle Club - if not a little more euphoric and echoed.

What makes "Come To" more distinguished than the bands old work is the increased tempo. As a single track, it's an important transitional piece, but on an album that is attempting to move to a new sound, it distinguishes itself as an anomaly that just doesn't fit. As a whole, the album is dangerously slow, bordering on boring. But even the slow songs have an essence of soothing excitement - the increased tempo just seems like an unjustified and dangerous attempt at a break from Bombay Bicycle Club's already impressive sound.

"Feel" and "So Long, See You Tomorrow" are the tracks that make you want to spread your wings. The injection and assimilation of the foreign sounds are so subtly dispersed through the album. It feels as if you're taking a leisurely walk across the Eastern hemisphere, while remaining in the comfort of your Western home. It's an inspiring sound that makes you want to step on a plane and leave anything mundane behind.

No great indie-pop album would be complete without some sort of ballad. Though "So Long, See You Tomorrow" is a great attempt, it seems to be an anti-climactic conclusion to an album that is so stylistically exciting. "So Long, See You Tomorrow" is a disappointing conclusion. It's not a bad track - it's an accumulation of echoed vocals and it seems like an ironic ending, which is hopefully a suggestion that there's more to come from the four-piece.

It risks getting lost in the bombardment of summer albums that are to come in the upcoming months but, So Long, See You Tomorrow holds within its tracks a tone that reverberates summer and longs to be a soundtrack of adventure.

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