Having been an avid follower of Bombay Bicycle Club since their Boy I Used To Be EP in 2007, I have always been eager when a new release is announced.
When I heard they were doing an acoustic tour and recording an acoustic record to accompany it, I was a little confused by the news as I think their punching, lively and gripping sound is why a lot of their fans like them.
First impressions of ‘Ivy and Gold’ and ‘Flaws’, which were the first two available tracks from the album, relieved some of the doubts I was having. The sparkle and bounce of ‘Ivy and Gold’ was refreshing and the pleasant harmonies provided by solo singer Lucy Rose, matched with Jack Steadman’s warm voice on ‘Flaws’ were engaging. ‘Dust On The ground’ also has a beautiful guitar melody which gets better with every listen.
A lot of the other new tracks didn’t have the same impact in my opinion. ‘Rinse Me Down’, ‘Many Ways’ and ‘Jewel’ all had a tired, dreary, low-key sound which doesn’t suit the bands aura. The rest of the album struggles down the same path in my mind.
Lyrics about the prospect of growing up and house parties have been ditched for cliché lines about freight trains and relationship worries, which is annoying and ill-suited to the band.
Lasting, overall impressions of record are mildly disappointing and there are just some little underlying issues with the sound of the album that bug me. The fact that the band are the same age as me and can produce such a mature sound is a big reason why I like them so much and with this acoustic sound, the dynamic is lost.
I hope this new direction is purely to accompany the tour and not permanent so they can get back to making the great music they have established themselves for.
From James Long.