Bombay Bicycle Club have emerged from a six-year hiatus with a striking record that is exquisitely produced and well thought out.
Sometimes a break can result in records with more misses than hits, or a new sound that is so uncomfortably unfamiliar, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth where your once unquenchable thirst dissipates into obscurity. But ‘Everything Else Has Gone Wrong’ is a culmination of Bombay Bicycle Club’s evolution of sound, from the guitar music we fell in love with on ‘I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose’, to the woozy folk on ‘Flaws’, as well as bringing in elements from the more experimental, synth-driven ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’. Rather than sounding defeated or resigned to familiar territory, there's a delicate optimism and graceful honesty that shines through the project, both lyrically and melodically.
Layered, hypnotic saxophone eases in the vocals, as Zeppelin-esque guitars build in the background, only to delicately dissolve away as ‘Is it Real’ comes into play, almost abruptly, taking the listener by surprise. Meanwhile ‘Everything Else Has Gone Wrong’ breathes a sigh of relief in this introspective synth-imbued soundscape, passionately proclaiming: “I guess I’ve found my peace again and yes, I’ve found my second wind.” The track elicits a sense of newfound hope, successfully revealing the much sought-after light at the end of the tunnel.
Subtle folk shanty ‘I Can Hardly Speak’ glows warmly with its steady beat, leaving a dream state sensation in its wake, while the light-hearted and uplifting melody of ‘Good Day’ approaches discomfort and doubt in one’s everyday life with a positive and playful disposition. The destructive trance of wishing away the bad days and imagining the grass to be greener on the other side is interrupted with “I just want to have a good day and it’s only me that’s standing in my way”, as we are reminded of a poignant yet simple truth we so often forget.
‘Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)’ flows lucidly, invigorating the senses as it flourishes into an explosive finale before ‘I Worry Bout You’, a multidimensional track incorporating various sounds, instruments and moods that effortlessly combine to create perhaps one of the more oddly pacifying and sonically diverse tracks on the record. Integrating yet more layers, Bombay Bicycle Club enlist the lyrical talents and sultry vocals of Liz Lawrence for ‘People People’ – a voice that handsomely complements Jack Steadman’s, melting and fusing together as they sing. Although originally written about Lawrence’s father, the track seems to have developed into a more wide-ranging, heartfelt meditation on platonic companionship.
‘Do You Feel Loved?’ feels like a quintessential Bombay Bicycle Club track as it pulls together a touch of world music, indie guitars and folk, adding a topical twist as they dig into their relationship with social media. The touching sweetness of ‘Let You Go’ possesses an underlying subtle sadness, creating a faintly heart-breaking, yet strangely uplifting atmosphere. The record comes to a close as it floats into the ether with ‘Racing Stripes’, a gently intimate and tender track. The beauty in concluding with this song, are the lyrics “This light will keep me going” – the perfect sentiment to summarise the mood and purpose of the entire record.
‘Everything Else Has Gone Wrong’ speaks to those left unsatisfied by the arguable immaturity, vacuous nature and uninspired sounds of some contemporary indie boy bands. The themes presented on this project arise from taking a step back and musing on how one experiences the world, subsequently reassessing your outlook on life and making certain realisations that comes with maturity. Bombay Bicycle Club’s time away has propelled the band to a new plane of compelling sophistication, where musically and thematically they have evolved to create a beautifully profound and stunning soundscape full of promise and self-examination.
Words: Yasmin Cowan
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