I’ve read Bombay Bicycle Club interviews where they comment that they are ‘No Sons of Mumford’ and other similar things to try to not get them tagged as ‘folk’, but unfortunately, they have made this album, called ‘Flaws’ and its well, pretty damn folky. It’s also one of the most beautiful albums of the year and makes me wish that they were always a folk band. Rather, this is Bombay Bicycle Club’s transition from indie-rock and there debut album ‘I Had the Blues but I Shook them Loose’ which was released in February 2009. The album is overall much more stripped down and has a beautifully fragile feel to it. The transition came about when front man Jack Steadman’s listened to American Folk music and the likes of Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake, all obvious influences on this album.
The first track ‘Rinse Me Down’ with its complex guitar picking and simple drum rhythms is one of the most upbeat of the album. Jack Steadman’s voice and the harmonies on parts of the song and also on the rest of the album are stunning. The next track ‘There are Many Ways’ is similar to the first with a more upbeat feel and the gradual addition of the banjo at the end firmly assures you that you have begun listening to an album of folk. ‘Dust on the Ground’ is a much quieter and more stripped down track. ‘Ivy & Gold’, their single out on Monday is the happiest of the lot and the strong melody at the beginning and the vocal harmonies give the track a magical, summery quality. The next few tracks ‘Leaving Blues’, ‘Fairytale Lullaby’, ‘Banjo 1 and ‘Jewel’ are all of a similar stripped back, melancholy feel, each with an excess of finger picking and individual melodies. ‘My God’ has a long fade out, nicely leading into the highlight of the album, ‘Flaws’. It is sung as a duet with Lucy Rose, a singer-songwriter in her own right. The blend of Lucy and Jack’s voices together is quite a stunning effect. The final track ‘Swansea’ takes lyrics from the Joanna Newsom song of the same title, and both songs remain very beautiful. The hidden track comes about like a fluttering burst of excitement, a very fast moving track compared to the others on the album, but still keeping the folky feel.
At the moment I’m a little bit in love with this album. I think it may become the soundtrack to my summer. I don’t think this transition to folk that Bombay Bicycle Club has taken will stay, but this album is a one-off beauty. They’re not Sons of Mumford, not far off, but the indie influences are much more evident in this album than in the music of Mumford and Sons. There is also a much more laid-back and summery vibe to the whole thing. Jack Steadman seems quite a song writing talent, the first album attracting awards such as NME’s ‘Best New Band’ and the second album which will hopefully attract folk fans across the country. Bombay Bicycle Club have created a thing of beauty, and I hope many more will appreciate it too.
Best Tracks: ‘Flaws’, ‘Ivy & Gold’, ‘Swansea’, ‘Leaving Blues’
The album is out on July 12th. They are also doing a tour of UK churches along with the album release. I think most of the dates are sold out but here they are anyway.
14th MAY – Academy, Dublin (supporting Foals
12th JUNE – Isle Of Wight Festival
25th JUNE – Glastonbury Festival
10th JULY – T In The Park Festival
11th JULY – Oxegen Festival
16th JULY – Lovebox festival
17th JULY – 2000 trees festival
And I’ve posted this before, but its beautiful, so this is ‘Flaws’.