On being questioned recently about the quality of new music and whether or not there is a current band with the ability and quality to define a generation of music – as The Sex Pistols did in the mid-seventies and The Stone Roses did in the late 1980’s – to become a band the transcends the throw away indie of today. There was no answer – it seemed as though a new movement in British music would not be sparked for at less another year or two. That was until A Different Kind Of Fix. It took nearly half a month of listening before it was clear that Bombay Bicycle Club’s evolution into the lasting band, the era defining band, which will kick start a movement was nearing the definitive points of its career.
Even though A Different Kind Of Fix initially disappointed, to say the very least, which is why it took so long to get into, please allow this article segment from just prior to the album release to be taken back: “BBC: just don’t see them ever again – listen to their new album and see, oh wait on second thought do not waste your time and money. They are nothing more than hotel lift music now after such an amazing debut in 2009 with I Had The Blue’s But I Shook Them Loose (if you want to listen, get this, it is pretty near a masterpiece). They have fallen so far.” How very wrong. This really shows an inability to instantly see the brilliant in the change of direction of the new record. It was hard to get to begin with, although it is very hard to see why that was so after the revelation of its brilliance.
Over the last month of listening to A Different Kind Of Fix, the negativity about it has all but evaporated – how could it ever have been perceived in such a negative way initially it can’t be said – even calling it hotel lift jazz music. There is in reality nearly nothing negative about the album, it cannot be truly criticised unless it isn’t understood that BBC have to adapt and evolve from past works. The transformation if not shocking is incredibly well pulled off. Even Shuffle – the lead single is brilliant, whereas Always Like This, Lead Single off of I Had The Blues was the worst track on the album; Shuffle just has a perfect balance of beats, piano samples and Jack Steadman’s melodies.
Shuffle and its beats just work so well for Bombay, seemingly a route gone down to due to the success of Always Like This, which is sounding better than ever post-the new album. The Samba beats have led them to the subtler more atmospheric sound that is truly epic. The epic ineffable qualities of the brilliance behind this record are instantly evident in How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep, a joyful opener with strong hip-hop based beats where BBC let you know what you are in for – an album of truly subtle dauntless epic beauty. It clearly moves down the route of combining acoustic and beats based alternative indie, and very successfully it might be added.
The album does seem slightly disjointed between the powerful baggy based beats that link strongly to both The Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses, the definitive band whom BBC are beginning to emulate; and the melodic vocal based songs such as the second half of What You Want and Beggars. The acoustic sections such as Still are the and Fracture, sounding a bit too much like Mumford for anyone’s liking are the weakest points of the album. These are a few hangover moments from Flaws in the acoustic sections, but that can’t be complained about if you get three albums in as many years, especially as the album as a whole is so brilliant.
The barriers seem to blur between what is a beats song and a chilled melodic number. Everything seems very distinct yet maintaining the beats and the melody that make BBC so accomplished, enough now to make truly great music, to the level of nigh-on generation or musical movement defining. This merger of beat and melody that makes this album so boundless is most clear with the best songs on the album, on Bad Timing; Your Eyes, a beautifully desolate, mournful song about Steadman’s ex-girlfriend, one of the most compelling tracks on the album; and Leave It, containing one of the few real choruses on A Different Kind Of Fix. In Beggars and Favourite Day BBC have a few softer chilled songs that make you remember where they came from with a lessen energy compared to their prior work as if harking back.
What You Want reaches just beyond the heights of Your Eyes, building in power in with a feeling of helplessness at the inability to control ones own feelings. Its a rapturous freedom song, that doesn’t have the desired effect. This kind of freedom is not at all desired after, the longing of the song is really in being a part of the feeling of helplessness and that is where you are left by the end of Four minutes as we as the whole album, you become nothing but flesh and bone, it exposes you entirely.
Take The Right One is undeniably the best track on A Different Kind Of Fix, one of those transcendental songs whose brilliance cannot be explained. It is baffling how they were able to write and create something of such tremendous beauty and nakedness. The same has to go for the album as a whole – that is why Bombay Bicycle Club has to be recognised as the defining band of the current music sense, it is impossible to see how anyone would say otherwise.
- Take The Right One
- What You Want
- Your Eyes
- How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep
- Leave It
Oscar B. Wilson