Unexpected, but Beautifully Done: Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind of Fix
By Charissa Lock @charissalock
The second I started listening to Bombay Bicycle Club’s (BBC) newest album A Different Kind of Fix, I was thrown off guard. I think I may have even double checked to see if I had purchased the correct item and not a John Mayer cover band. When it was confirmed that I was indeed listening to BBC, I decided to take it as a blending of their folk with the more upbeat and exploratory sound they seemed to have recently ditched. It was reminiscent to their first full-length album I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose (2009), with hints of their acoustic second album and last release Flaws (2010).
As contest winners to Virgin Mobile’s “Road to V” competition, Bombay Bicycle Club’s music career took off in 2006. If this music competition doesn’t sound familiar, it’s probably because the festival where the winners perform is in England (they always have the coolest music gigs). Though BBC was able to perform at the “V Festival” and receive positive feedback, they were only able to release two EPs. Unlike irresponsible Americans, these British lads decided to finish their secondary school before putting all their focus on a music career (unlike a college student in America’s “…so I decided to take a semester off of college to explore my future in the music industry…”). With schooling under their belts, Ed Nash (bass), Suren de Saram (drums), Jamie MacColl (guitar), and Jack Steadman (vocals, guiars) were ready to take on the world.
Having quite a few singles and gaining popularity, it was only time before I would find them. That time came when I heard a few of their songs on Tumblr and from there was given the “how do you not know Bombay Bicycle Club?” with raised eyebrows from my sister. I figured to give their albums a listen and was able to find their first two albums on Grooveshark. I was surprised at the vast difference between the two. One was gritty with electric guitars, while the other was a folky and mellow acoustic album. Both were great in their own right, not life-changing, but still good.
A Different Kind of Fix, is more than decent, it’s something that I tend to go to on my iPod when I’m in the mood for something fresh, upbeat, and housing a classic sound. As indie rock as Bombay Bicycle Club can be categorized, there’s a mature rock/pop sound that goes with it. Like I had previously mentioned, my first thought was John Mayer, it has that sense of professionalism and instrumentation that goes beyond a band just “rocking out.” There are a plethora of instruments used here, not for the “Woah, that’s crazy,” factor, but as a way to make the song complete. I’m really excited about BBC being able to take this step and impress the hell out of me.
Surprisingly, my favorite song is their single “Shuffle” (that’s very strange for me to like a single so much). There are so many great pieces to it, while carrying this great piano section throughout the track. It’s upbeat, yet sophisticated, and even listening to it now I just realized there are moments of clapping…I love clapping. I can say the same thing to almost all of the tracks (upbeat sophistication, not clapping), yet each possesses its own style. “Lights Out, Words Gone,” is another good one, probably sounding the most like John Mayer than any other (and by the way, don’t picture me like Emma Stone’s character in “Friends With Benefits” – I’m not a big John Mayer fan). When you first hear “Fracture,” you can instantly picture it being off of Flaws, yet as the song continues, drums and female vocals enter which shows that BBC is not trying to go back to their “old stuff,” but is adding to a familiar sound with elements that make the song beautiful. Last, but not least, “Favourite Day” (I love getting the chance to write ‘o’s with ‘ou’s) is such a great song. Being mellow, the wonder comes from all of the instruments used subtly throughout the song, the heavy and inconsistent bass drum (displaying its triumph in the end), the random chipmunk-esque repeated vocals, and the list continues.
Bombay Bicycle Club was able to combine the electric, experimental vibe with the acoustic professional sound to create their latest release. It’s the perfect blend, taking the wonderful aspects of both albums and being able to come out with 12 great tracks. Some would be discouraged because of how well they can pull off folk, and with BBC keeping a similar sound, but always including drums or piano at some point, it does not give their acoustic fans justice. However, as a group this was a great move for them to implement both of their pretty good sounds into one amazing album, A Different Kind of Fix.