Album Review: Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind of Fix

By on Tuesday, 6th September 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

The prolific and seemingly inexhaustible Bombay Bicycle Club have come out with their third album, this one called ‘A Different Kind of Fix’. An interesting title, since after listening to this new effort a couple times, I’ve come to the conclusion the quartet wanted to come up with something that took the best of their first two albums (2009’s ‘I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose’ and 2010’s acoustic ‘Flaws’ [review here]) successful. Where ‘Flaws’ left me feeling cheated, wondering when their follow-up to the incredibly fun single ‘Magnet’ was going to materialise, if ever. Yet ‘A Different Kind of Fix’ presses all the right buttons, showing the band’s maturity of talent and indicates the band is not going anywhere any time soon.

The album begins with ‘How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep’, likely the best example on here of how the London band managed to marry the rock sensibility of ‘I Had the Blues…’ with the softer side of ‘Flaws’. Great lead vocals from Jack Steadman gently lead you into the tune that speeds up to a perfect tempo, with joyful guitars and drumming. The next track, ‘Bad Timing’, is no ‘Magnet’, but it’s an admirable return to form. This one, along with ‘Take the Right One’, rock harder and are certainly welcome to folks like me who didn’t take to the acoustic Bombay Bicycle of last year. The beginning of ‘Beggars’ certainly sounds like it could have been on ‘Flaws’, but thankfully the chorus and overall prevailing feeling is, dare I say it, nearly Mumford and Sons in slap-happiness.

What I definitely did not expect from these blokes: ‘Lights Out, Words Gone’. It’s like pulling back the curtains on the ‘80s, reminding me of Culture Club. Don’t run from this review. Stay with me here, please. Listen to it on Spotify, it’s like a 21st century ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me’. It’s genius. I don’t think any other band would even try this. What a risk. But it sounds fabulous. Even ‘Leave It’ and ‘What You Want’ sound like the band have been stuck in a time warp (early Noughties U2), but I won’t complain too much, because they have sweeping choruses. And remember what I said earlier, that this album was a crossroads between their first two albums? The acoustic stylings of ‘Flaws’ come through in ‘Fracture’ and album closer ‘Still’, though neither of which is particularly noteworthy.

‘Shuffle’, which was trotted out earlier in the summer as a taster of the new album, is in hindsight a strange choice for a single. Dissonant piano banging and the start and throughout, along with a really annoying chorus, can easily get your goat. It’s the only major disappointment I find on ‘A Different Kind of Fix’ and unfortunately the only reason why I didn’t give it a higher rating than 8 out of 10. I can’t with a good conscience give an album a stellar rating if the band (and/or their people) can’t make the right decision when it comes to choosing singles. Love it or hate it, you have to accept the fact that bands have to put their best foot forward when promoting new albums, and that’s the lead single. It’d be a terrible shame if people didn’t give this a chance because ‘Shuffle’ grated on their nerves.

8/10

‘A Different Kind of Fix’ is available now from Universal / Island.

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[…] specifically, to work with producer Ben Allen, who also co-produced Bombay Bicycle Club‘s ‘A Different Kind of Fix’ and Delphic‘s panned 2013 album ‘Collections’. Neither band are of the same genre […]

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