Bombay Bicycle Club ‘A Different Kind of Fix’ – Review

5 Sep

Bombay Bicycle Club are stuck in the wrong decade; they are young, ambitious and eager to experiment with new ideas and sounds, which, lets face it, is at odds with the times we’re living in. Record labels these days like to restrict bands to one sound (and one album every couple of years) but Bombay Bicycle Club pay no attention to this. ‘A Different Kind of Fix’ is their third album in three years, and it follows a hard lined indie rock debut and an acoustic folk record. Like the popular ‘I Had the Blues but I Shook Them Loose’ this new album is mainly electric, but it sees BBC exploring some unusual sounds and trying their hand at styles that had only been hinted at before.

‘Lights Out, Words Gone’ is probably the best example of the band’s new textured approach. Samples are successfully mixed in with the more traditional rock elements and it’s pulled off with real style. Ben Allen (producer of Animal Collective’s Meriwether Post Pavillion as well as albums by Washed Out and Ce Lo Green) clearly brings a lot to the party; I assume he encouraged the tight but baggy drum sound and the hazy synths that colour the album.

Of course, for a while last year, it seemed that BBC had ditched electronics altogether when they put out the excellent ‘Flaws’, and this folky style hasn’t been completely abandoned. ‘Beggers’ begins quietly, with a lightly picked acoustic guitar contending with Jack’s uniquely breathy vocals. This song is another example of the perfect production, that layers hand claps, guitars and reverb soaked effects to create a lovely atmosphere. ‘Fracture’ and ‘Still’ also display the band’s mature side beautifully, but that doesn’t mean to say that the album is purely a chin stroking affair.’Take the Right One’ is one of the more traditional rockers, and it really does rock. They have moved on leaps and bounds from the rather stilted inidie rock sound of the debut album – now they sound ready to take on the world.

unfortunately, like the previous two BBC albums, there is a bit of filler. ‘What You Want’ is a bit too bland and uneventful whilst ‘Favourite Day’ is totally forgettable. Even these songs have some redeemable qualities though and that’s mainly thanks to how well produced they have been. Even if a couple of the songs are a bit boring, there is always an element lurking in the mix that catches your ear.

Whilst ‘A Different Kind of Fix’ is largely successful, it isn’t the groundbreaking album it occasionally comes close to being. To be honest it’s lacking a killer song – first single ‘Shuffle’ is good but it’s hardly the tune that’s going to convert the masses. The quieter moments aren’t as convincing as the best moments on ‘Flaws’ and there is nothing as catchy as ‘Dust on the Ground’ from the debut. But still, this is their most ambitious and most consistent album to date, and it proves (if any proof were needed) that BBC are one of the most promising young bands we have.

7/10

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