Almost 10 years after their formation, North London natives Bombay Bicycle Club are back with their fourth album, So Long, See You Tomorrow. The indie four-piece have released a varied and daring record that’s moved away from the folky tones of past successes Flaws and A Different Kind of Fix. The album is “an indie pop band exploring hip-hop, R’n’B and bhangra and seeing what happens when you throw them all together,” guitarist Jamie Macoll tells me from his living room sofa.
Forming at 15, getting coverage at 16, and debut album at 18, the band are often noted for their youth. However, Jamie point this out as a misconception. “People seem to have quite selective memories and portray us as being mas- sively hyped since the age of 16. In reality it was only six months after our first album came out that people started to think that we could be an important band.”
But the comparative youth has enabled the band to be fearless (and positive) when varying and switching up their sound. “The most important thing when making an album is to create something that first and foremost you are proud of. Trying to make an album that you think other people will just end in unhappiness, even if it’s successful. The fact that we’ve changed our sound a number of times is reflective of the fact that we are young, we are restless, and ultimately we’re still trying to figure out our place in the world, as many people our age are.”
The band’s growing up process has been documented in their releases. We talk about the progression the band have been making since the release of I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose in 2007. “The first couple of albums were definitely a reflection of our lives at that time. They were about being young and everything that goes with that: in short they were about teenage boys lusting after girls, having their hearts broken, and most especially, not wanting to grow up.”
The theme continues on this fourth record, but in a more sophisticated line, describing “the ups and downs of a relationship. Life is both always changing and staying the same. It may seem like the relationship is ending, but deep down both parties both know they will still be there tomorrow.”
If there’s one thing this band have been unceasingly good at, it’s appealing to our softer nature. Jamie tells me about the tour induced homesickness that triggered ‘Home By Now’, an electronic based ballad from the new record. “Jack came up with a very simple beat on his iPad and the chorus melody that he began to sing over it seemed to encapsulate the way we were all feeling.” It was to be the first of ten tracks that would form So Long, See You Tomorrow.
Jamie concludes the interview by telling me that he “prefers music to act as a kind of escapism.” I can’t help but feel Bombay’s music fits this description well. From homesick to reckless, their ability to encapsulate a mood is testament to their talent, but it’s fearlessness that gets them there.