With over 20 years of music under their belts, noughties indie darlings Bombay Bicycle Club have returned with their sixth album, My Big Day — 11 songs which both harks back to their formative days and feels a long way away from them.
Featuring star-studded collaborations aplenty (with the likes of Holly Humberstone, Damon Albarn and Chaka Khan lending their vocals), and with the band taking up production duties, the album feels grander than its predecessors — there’s a real sense of excitement laced into each track.
With jazzy riffs and thumping drums, the opening track ‘Just A Little More Time’ gets the momentum going for the 10 tracks ahead, starting with the least indie-pop song of the album ‘I Want To Be Your Only Pet’. With electric guitar and drum hooks aplenty, the song is experimental — especially for a band whose reputation rests on their ability to produce seamless indie-pop songs — but it is guaranteed to have the listener hooked until it comes to an abrupt stop.
The first of five collaborations, ‘Sleepless’ (featuring Jay Som) is a soft, vocal harmony laced song which is taken up a notch once the multi-layered instrumentals join in, complimenting the rich vocals perfectly. Previously released singles ‘My Big Day’ and ‘Turn The World On’ are full of jagged choruses and smooth verse flows, the kind of songs that are sure to go down well as the band takes the album on tour.
The second collaboration of the album ‘Meditate’ (featuring Nilüfer Yanya) feels like it could have slotted nicely into any of the north London band’s earlier works, as it starts off soft and gradually builds into a high-octane sound.
Instrumental number and rather bizarrely named ‘Rural Radio Predicts The Rapture’ is an attention grabber of a track, spanning all kinds of genres across its duration (electronic, indie, hip-hop, to name a few) — a strong indication that the band are moving on from their reliable teenage guitar band roots and onto something much more daring.
The Damon Albarn collaboration ‘Heaven’ is underpinned by soft, twinkling background music and soothing vocal arrangements. After plenty of heavier tracks, this one is a refreshing change without losing the excitement and momentum gathered by the tracks before it.
Perhaps the most exciting and unexpected collaboration of the album, ‘Tekken 2’ (featuring Chaka Khan) harks back to So Long, See You Tomorrow with the rich, funk-soaked instrumentals and soulful vocal harmonies.
The standout track of the album, however, comes just before its conclusion, with rising star Holly Humberstone providing gorgeously rich backing vocals for ‘Diving’ — a track which has a nostalgic feel to it and the sprawling instrumentals feel sunshine soaked.
‘Onward’ is a softer ending than you’d expect for the fast-paced, high-octane tracks before it but it feels like the right conclusion to their latest effort. Reminiscent of their early work, particularly the fan-favourite ‘Luna’, it’s almost a musical love letter to their early days as well as them truly embracing their next stage, whatever it may be.
Bombay Bicycle Club may have started when they were teenagers but their latest effort is proof the band — and their sound — has grown up a lot since.
Words by Jen Rose
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