With the quick history lesson over, this is where we’re at now. ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’ captures Bombay Bicycle Club’s most experimental moments, and expands them out into an absolutely massive, anthemic album of Bollywood samples (yes, really), focused lyricism, and a heady, propulsive drive with a sensibility nearing on hip-hop. There’s tender pockets too in the beautiful ending to ‘Whenever, Whenever’, laced with echoing choruses before stripping right back to one plunking piano riff.
There’s that big old cliche of ‘finding yourself’, and indeed, Steadman travelled India, Turkey, rural Holland, and Japan during the process to hit on musical inspiration. Leave the gap yah jibes at home though, because as much as it should sound like a lead balloon crashing into a table of awkward small-talk, the tabla playing on ‘Luna’ just works. That iconic, instantly recognisable Bollywood sample from the 1954 movie ‘Nagin’ works, too. ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’ is the band’s most cohesive record yet, and for Steadman, it’s not so much a progression, but a realisation of the songs that he always wanted to write since he dabbled on GarageBand aged 13. Later he “[got] into stuff like Boards of Canada and discover[ed] psychoactive drugs – a lethal combination!” This album is the point at which all those things come to fruition, quite wonderfully.
There’s another cliche that gets bandied around a lot, too – that whole slightly ridiculous notion that there are no younger bands stepping up who are ready to occupy the top tier of festival line-ups. Bombay Bicycle Club, with this album, rubbish this very idea. Bold, experimental, and an absolute delight, Bombay Bicycle Club cycle the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
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