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The Primrose League

I would like to introduce to you a man named Daniel Earwicker; musician, personal hero of mine, and someone who, I daresay, probably knows a fair few of Johnny Marr’s Smiths parts better than perhaps even Johnny Marr himself. 

I first got to know of him a couple of years ago, during the time when I was just beginning with the Smiths, and in particular the guitar style that Marr made them synonymous with. Being a keen beginner guitarist at this point, I naturally wanted to pick up some of their tunes, and a quick search of YouTube for covers to help me threw up Daniel Earwicker’s channel, overflowing with closeups of him and his guitar picking out each intricate note. It was great, he had every song sounding bang on, even to the point where people began to question his identity; question whether he was in fact Marr himself or not. Us mortals could now play along and follow those famous rhythms. After posting a dozen or so covers, he uploaded his first song – ‘What’s It Like To Always Be Wrong.’ It set the blueprint of what was to come; Smiths-esque riffs, abstract lyrics, rhythmic, pounding drums and beating bass. At a first listen, you would be forgiven for thinking that it is him with his band playing one of their own compositions, having possibly booked a few hours in a studio one day.

But this is what makes Earwicker so remarkable; beyond the songwriting and guitar talent, he also plays the bass, drums, piano, as well as singing on his songs. In addition to this, he records, engineers, produces and masters every song from his computer, utilising various bits of recording equipment. After about a year, he eventually released a full-length, eleven track album, entitled ‘Stigmata Playing Up Again,’ in 2008.

The bottom line of the album is this: this album is not just good for just one person’s work; this album is great full stop. Each song is a Rickenbacker symphony, backed by offbeat and driving drums, complemented by numerous superb basslines, topped off by a great vocals carrying abstract lyrics through. His words are engaging yet obscure; I’ve been listening to the album for about eighteen months now, and careful listening and wondering has left me with my own interpretation of the lyrics, but I’m sure others’ will be different, and I am sure Mr. Earwicker would have had something entirely different on his mind the day he wrote it. For me, the lyrics can be interpreted to contain a range of various themes such as oppression (‘Hyprochrondria’), war that can befall family (Guerilla Warfare), and the pressure to perform (‘The World is Waiting for Your Invention).

On a geekier side, this man clearly knows his way around Pro Tools. Each song sounds like a polished, well recorded piece of work, oozing quality and the dulcet tones of some very expensive instruments indeed (many guitarists can only hope to have one tenth of Daniel’s immense guitar collection). His recording process, that he outlines in one of his video comments, usually takes a few hours; he records drums, bass, guitars, then writes the lyrics for the music, and sings it. He spends the rest of the day editing and mastering, before cutting together a video, and uploading the video usually late on a Sunday night. He justifies this: “The latest song I uploaded, I must admit to being extremely eager to let people hear it right away, the same day I started working on it,” in a interview with MonitorDown three years ago.

The album was followed by a second effort, ‘Letters to Cyril Connolly,’ the following year. The same army of expensive guitars remained, as did the superb sparkling riffs and jangling acoustics, but a feeling of new wave began to seep in, guitar effects were used more extensively. The album was completed and all tracks previewed within 10 months, and work immediately began on the third, entitled ‘Havoc Monk Unseen.’ This album is still an in progress work, but the music continues to develop, with increasingly funkier basslines, altered guitar sounds, drum machines, and banjos as well.

Having completed and completely self-published nearly three full-length albums in five years is a feat that many bands may not achieve, so it makes it even more remarkable that one man, producing and  writing all material, can do it so well. He continues to pump out high quality covers and songs about every three weeks or so, his latest being an intense take on ‘Hand in Glove’ by the same band that launched him on YouTube, the Smiths, featuring an roaring inimitable bass part.  Every time I see his name in my subscription box, it’s like a little treat on my Sunday evening, and something I won’t be able to keep myself away from for at least the next week.

http://www.primroseleague.co.uk/jshome.htm

http://www.youtube.com/user/danielearwicker?feature=results_main

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THE MACCABEES – GIVEN TO THE WILD REVIEW

My expectations for this album would no doubt have become clear with the Given To The Wild preview article, they were exceptionally high – which certainly puts the pressure on The Maccabees to deliver something amazing after hearing “Pelican”, “Feel To Follow” and “Child” pre released in that order just getting better and better.  A little spoiler for you; those expectations were most defiantly justified, for The Maccabees have really delivered. Given To The Wild is an evolutionary masterpiece which is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching at the same time. A clear departure from 2009’s Wall Of Arms to a more symbolic lyricism and a larger expansive moving sound.

Saying that this is the first time they have felt like their own band with their own true sound gives you an indication that more has gone into this record than any before – it seems to hold within it the true souls of The Maccabees which were otherwise absent from the first two LPs. Its themes based on nature, nostalgia, family and the circle of life are close to the heart of Weeks, the Whites etc. and are projected onto us with both tenderness and grandiose epic soundscapes; have the extraordinary power of moving you with the sentiment and raw emotion of their creation. The epic instrumental vastness and the distinctive honesty of Orlando Weeks’ vocals are very much at home on an African plain or a bleaker wilderness. These expanses are complimented by opposing crescendo leading to climaxes of massive power, ending many tracks on the highest of highs, and assuring Given To The Wild’s monumental success, as sincere and beautiful a record as your ever likely to hear.

Entering into the “I Wanna Be Adored” inspired intro “Given To The Wild”, a zooming atmospheric piece which begins your journey into the guitar and the cinematic, commanding “Child”. The song which inspired the album’s title and follows two of the album’s main themes; nature and the circle of life, as explained by Weeks “Being ‘given to the wild,’ it’s not a choice that you’ve made. It’s something out of your control.”. “Child” grasps you with a lovely brass section and spits you out after tumultuous guitar solo from Felix White (or was it Hugo) as uncontrollable as the choice of our own existence, before it simmers down into the more pain filled; for example with the lyrics: ‘You never know it’s too late until it’s too late.’; yet equally emotive “Feel To Follow”. The second track to surprise you with its blissfully epic climax, you would have been very wrong to have thought after “Child” that The Maccabees could give little more but you would have been forgiven, “Child” is exceptionally brilliant.

Moving through the dream-like hypnotic qualities of “Ayla” and “Glimmer” sees a softer side to the album, although not standing out; they along with “Heave” are by no means fillers, there isn’t a single filler. Given To The Wild is one whole without unnecessary elements, presenting the progression of The Maccabees group writing process and their production which has given them the maturity and skill to pull off their new expansive sound.

“Forever I’ve Known” is yet another clear departure of style from The Maccabees of old, with the new softer calming vocal beautifully delivering “ Forever I’ve known, nothing stays forever. Couldn’t you still try?” It strikes a perfect balance, with wave of wave of aggressive guitar crescendo interspersed with gorgeous moments of calm.  This leads you to “Heave”, the calm before the storm that is the unstoppable final five tracks on the LP, by way of “Pelican.

The first single “Pelican”, which along with the album uses images of the work of Andy Goldsworthy, whose work sits perfectly in with the albums feel, obviously the nature elements. The effect of the photographs before and after the fire are massive – showing the uncontrollable force of nature; it’s destructive power; and the desolation caused is no doubt part of a life cycle, giving a fertile soil to allow growth and re-birth; followed by the immutability of the stone kiln acting as a vessel relaying the ideas and emotive makeup of feeling obtained by listening to Given To The Wild. The pieces visually represent much of which makes The Maccabees third album such a great work of art and music. The song itself however is merely an optimistic jangly instrumental with lyrics about parenthood and nostalgia in “And we go back to where we came from”, it’s nice granted, and an obvious single but really nothing much more.

After “Pelican” comes “Went Away”, the indisputable standout song on the album. The most euphoric emotive moment of Given To The Wild comes from the most beautiful vocal that The Maccabees have recorded “Hold me close, don’t let me go, I need you so”, A love song if ever I saw one, and one that is becoming very personal to me, though much of this not to do with its lyrical power but it’s other-worldly guitar and launch into a perfectly joyous unprecedented final two minutes, that are nothing short of blissful. Not the most musically inventive song, but four minutes of brilliance which is too answer for the new “stadium sound”.

“Go” is yet another massive song fit for stadiums, giving light to the influence of both Coldplay and Arcade Fire on Given To The Wild. It’s a track that just gets bigger and bigger, an ambitious direction that has really paid off, most likely due to how natural a transition this seems to be. A big bass line and ghostly vocal greets you on “Unknown” ending in a surprisingly beautiful souring vocal from Alpines’ Catherine Pockson. Yet another bombardment of sound surprises you in the latter half of “Slowly One” after a tremendous build up, and what makes it so good is the jarring harsh guitar from White ripping apart all of the earlier opposing subtleties and beauty – as only nature would.

Given To The Wild ends on another high with “Grew Up At Midnight” a nostalgia filled  tale of friendship, and a far more resonant, relatable feeling than all of the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. A lovely finish to what is the album of The Maccabees careers; if they can come out with anything better there are some truly great things to look forward to. There really is no need to look forward however because Given To The Wild should be all that you’ll need to be listening to for the for see able future and it is defiantly not one to be left behind by time. I couldn’t tell you enough how amazing Given To The Wild is.

Best Tracks:

1. Went Away

2. Child

3.  Go

4. Forever I’ve Known

5. Unknown

Oscar B. Wilson

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BEST ALBUMS OF 2011

This is only going to be a short list, twenty of the best releases of 2011 – containing a very strong top five of the universally critically acclaimed mercury prize winning P J Harvey album; to the pretty much unknown fourth placers Cashier Number 9 with their belfast “baggy” music in the form of debut To The Death Of Fun; on to the infamous WU LYF’s Go Tell Fire To The Mountain; with The Horrors’ epic being very unlucky to have missed out on the top spot and been released in the same year as the flawless second electric record from Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind Of Fix, an unquestionably clear record of the year.

For the best tracks of 2011: https://codamusicblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/best-tracks-of-2011/

The complete top ten follows:

1. Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind Of Fix

File:Bombay bicycyle club a different kind of fix.jpg

The unrivaled stand out release of the year, shocking topping the brilliance of Bombay’s first album I Had The Blues. A pop record full of beats and nods to The Stone Roses brand of psychedelia. The infusions of guitar based indie and melodic folk makes it Bombay Bicycle Club’s offering clearly a record of its time. You cannot go without listening to this record.

Review Link: https://codamusicblog.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/bombay-bicycle-club-a-different-kind-of-fix-review-and-download-links/

Top Tracks: Take The Right One, How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep, What You Want and Your Eyes.

2. The Horrors – Skying

How have The Horrors reached this point with an unlistenable first album to their third, Skying – a masterpiece and force of nature which although not entirely ground-breaking stylistically is a beautifully created record. The themes of oceans and expanse resonate through an album without a faulty song on it.

Review Link: https://codamusicblog.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/the-horrors-skying-review/

Top Tracks: Still Life, You Said and Moving Further Away.

3. WU LYF – Go Tell Fire To The Mountain

Don’t think for a second that WU LYF are all about the mystery of their image because this album is euphoric undecipherable sound-scapes. They brought something very different to the tale with the success of the contrasting elements of screaming savage vocals and clean poppy instrumentals gives WU LYF a memorising signature sound.

Review Link: https://codamusicblog.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/wu-lyf-%E2%80%93-go-tell-fire-to-the-mountain-review/

Top Tracks: Heavy Pop, Such A Sad Puppy Dog, 14 Crowns For Me And All My Friends and L Y F.

4. Cashier Number 9 – To The Death Of Fun

Cashier Number 9 haven’y caught many people attention this year, with their top youtube video only reaching 40,000 hits – and god knows why not. They have a really accessible sound and make joyful jangling guitar music which sounds so perfect prticularly well done the three tracks mentioned below.

Please Note: Due to the opening of Codamusic being half way through the year, not all of these albums have been reviewd.

Top Tracks: Oh Pity, The Lighthouse Will Lead You Out and Make You Feel Better.

5. P J Harvey – Let England Shake

As mentioned earlier, the universally critically acclaimed mercury prize winning Let England Shake truly deserves such prefixes. It is an beautifully executed politically based  album about the war and ruin which which have caused. The love for a great nation, or what used to be a great nation – not that the album’s beauty can only be realized with this theme. Every song is brilliant so don’t just listen to the tracks below.

Top Tracks: Bitter Branches, The Last Living Rose and Written On The Forehead.

6. Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See

A return to form from the Arctic Monkeys, with a mature album that is listenable and also lyrically brilliant. It’s not the Arctic Monkeys of old, but really no one in their right mind would want that after listening to this. And one belter of a closing track:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9U1r38di-8 (Number 1 on the Best Tracks Of 2011 list as it happens)

Review Link: https://codamusicblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/arctic-monkeys-suck-it-and-see-review/

Top Tracks: That’s Where Your Wrong, The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala and Reckless Serenade.

7. I Break Horses – Hearts

The first overseas album, from Sweden’s I Break Horses whose electronic shoe-gaze pop is one of this years highlights. A trance-inducing cascade of electronic music, which really seems to have a soul. An under the radar album of other worldly majesty.

Top Tracks: Winter Beats, Pulse and Wired.

8. S.C.U.M. – Again Into Eyes

S.C.U.M., a post-punk outfit who say their music is the manifestation of repressed lust. Their debut album takes influence and mood from Joy Division – a must listen for any post-punk devotee. Although its of a particular taste, the darkness of the music really comes through as euphoria rather than depression.

Top Tracks: Whitechapel, Amber Hands, Cast Into Seasons and Faith Unfolds.

9. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Having assumed the worst after the Beady Eye’s flop, Noel pleasantly surprised with this collection of tracks. If you never liked Oasis these aren’t for you as they are nothing new but if you did, its blood good stuff. If only he had spent a few more minutes thinking of a better name, lets be honest it shouldn’t take long.

Top Tracks: Stop The Clocks, If I Had A Gun and (I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine.

10. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra

The best of this years influx of brilliant American lo-fi psychedelic rock which includes Smith Westerns and Moon Duo. Trippy, drug distorted vocals and direct punchy guitar. UMO’s debut is also very accessible and relatively easy listening for what it is, making it one of the coolest albums of 2011.

Best Tracks: Ffunny Ffrends, How Can U Luv Me, Biocycle and Thought Ballune.

11. White Lies – Ritual

12. Metronomy – The English Riviera

13. The Crookes – Chasing After Ghosts

14. Yuck – Yuck

15. Glasvegas – Euphoric /// Heartbeat \\\

16. Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde

17. Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials

18. The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines

19. Moon Duo – Mazes

20.The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar

Disagree? Missed any of yours? Pray Tell.

Please note that these are not the opinions of the whole codamusic team but of one man.

Oscar B. Wilson

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WU LYF – GO TELL FIRE TO THE MOUNTAIN REVIEW

The highly anticipated debut from the reclusive Manchurians, giving the new wave of Manchester scene a twist from the egos and personalities of the eighties and nineties comes with a very strong wave of hype behind the band. Yet maybe they are the same as the rest – they barely played outside of Manchester before the release, with the world having only just discovered their names shows you that they are all about the music, and frankly the mystery adds to the bands celestial sounds and tongues-like vocals. Can hiding ones faces and singing with your back to the stage in an attempt the remove the individual from the collective brilliance of their music, in actuality be the same swagger and confidence of Curtis and Hook, Morrissey and Marr, Brown and Squire, Gallagher and Gallagher and the rest? Even with their “disregard” for Manchester’s legacy.

WU LYF or World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation has unleashed a new level of primal romanticism on the musical world.  The clean instrumentals, particularly the resonation of the high guitar sections give the music its other worldly beauty. In the case of the organ on L Y F the album wouldn’t be out of place if played in a church, so long as they removed the “Lucifer” from their name. Throughout the album these instrumentals give the listener a chance to feel exhilaration beyond the self in an expanse of sound showing the seemingly celestial origins of the music. This can be best appreciated on Such A Sad Puppy Dog and Dirt, both of which are full of resonance that cuts through the soul. Not that they are the exceptional compared to the album as a whole.

Combining the strongly contrasting primal otherworldly elation of the vocals and indecipherable lyrics with the clean perfect underlying instrumentals works in harmony and gives WU LYF a very strong defined sound. One which they don’t stray from on Go Tell Fire To The Mountain, but they have no reason to have too diverse a sound when that sound is so perfectly pulled off throughout the album. Although it has been said that Ellery Roberts’ voice is off putting, being so indecipherable and so far from the norm – which takes away from the bands beautiful playing. The accessibility and vibrancy of the instrumentation balances the composition out to a pint where the vocals are in no way unlistenable.

Clearly, WU LYF’s doubters have missed the beauty of the “tongues” like ambiguity of the vocals giving them a mystique as though of a higher spirituality, which WU LYF have enabled us to glimpse. Having lyrics which are less clearly universally understood or themed (other than We Bros about brotherhood) may give the listener more from a song emotively than one which has been clearly defined to mean it certain thing – in other works the listener can derive whatever they want from its ambiguity. With 14 Crowns For Me And Your Friends song which builds into a crescendo for four minutes the lyrics themselves do not take you in, but by the sound of the voice itself and the ecstatic jangle of the guitar. Not differing from the most downbeat sing in the record, Such A Sad Puppy Dog.

There is a slight problem with two of the songs to the end of the record, Concrete Gold and Heavy Pop, but because they were both brilliant – at least the singles released before they had been rerecorded for the album that is. The album versions are still particularly good; it’s just comparatively it’s a bit disappointing to hear a lesser version on the final product.  The original version of Heavy Pop is an exceptionally powerful song, the best WU LYF have released and it is a real shame if it is not listened too – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yW73ENT3w0.

The energy WU LYF are unable to contain, a ferocity that must be screamed at the world is an ever present spirit within the album. A soaring expanse of a song, Spitting Blood demonstrates their energy, along with a similarly themed video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDTEhWO2wyo. The same has to be said of Heavy Pop and actually nearly every song come to think of it.  However, WU LYF aren’t ever going to be universally liked, by then the best bands never are, they are doing things differently. WU LYFs passion and want for change – or at less looking at things with a different perspective defines them musically, so it is of little important if people don’t get the music because there is never going to be a time where everyone agrees with a change.

The sense of the new wave, an alternative way of thinking or perceiving that is so clear and ingrained in WU LYF’s music is what makes greatness especially when it is misunderstood. For example the use of Lucifer in their band name – not to show their support of satanism but a presentation of an alternative view which the established good, may deem bad – when maybe it isn’t bad, merely an alternative to the conventional positions held by authority. As done by the original Manchester revolutionaries – Joy Division. WU LYF really do have some depth to the concept of their music, it shall be very interesting to see how they develop.

They are simply a mesmerising listen, full of soaring celestial expanses of sound combined with the exhilarating screaming savagery of the human voice – quite possibly revelatory in nature. A beautiful work to say the least. The birth of “heavy pop” (as they like to call their new genre) has come.

Best Tracks:

  1. Heavy Pop
  2. Such A Sad Puppy Dog
  3. 14 Crowns For Me And My Friends
  4. L Y F
  5. Dirt

Oscar B. Wilson

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Velociraptor! – Kasabian

Following the 2009 success of West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, Kasabian released their fourth studio album in September this year. It was always going to be difficult for them to produce a good follow up to WRPLA, but they definitely succeeded and produced an album which was a step up.

The album is packed of catchy melodies, memorable guitar riffs and are likely to be massive hits; and if the rumors of them headlining Reading/ Leeds Festival next year turn out to be true, they will be fantastically received by the crowd. The song Switchblade Smiles was the first song to be released by the group, providing a hint of what the new album was going to be like; and Days are Forgotten was the first available single to come from the new album, even making an appearance in the UK top 40 which is such a rarity for rock/ indie artists these days.

Velociraptor! works well as an album because of how the songs flow into one another, and also function independently. This makes the album a good starting point for new fans, and also an album that can be listened to in its entirety. There album is a reminder of the Brit-pop era, with similarities being found between Blur, Oasis, and Pulp. There is definitely the guitar influence from these bands, but with added strings and  orchestral melodies clearly heard in Acid Turkish Bath: mirroring the moves of Blur and the Verve.

Songs worth a listen to from the album include (not in any order):

1. Velociraptor!

2. Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To

3. Days are Forgotten:

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Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know

Laura Marling, 21 and from Hampshire. She has 3 album releases; the latest album, A Creature I Don’t Know, is what I shall be reviewing. From the first song of her first album, Alas, I Cannot Swim, we knew we were in for a treat. Her dextrous strumming of her guitar and her beautiful, country voice. Her voice seems to scream vulnerable and innocence but also experience; perhaps a paradoxical claim but I think that’s what makes her voice so intriguing and inviting.

It is not solely the sound that comes out of her mouth that is beautiful, her lyrics are interesting too. They are almost riddles, small quips she gives suggest what she is thinking and what is going on in Laura Marling’s life. The lyrics are very deep but are very much open for interpretation; ‘it’s hard to accept yourself as someone you don’t desire’ and ‘cross your fingers, hold your toes. We’re all going to die when the building blows’ conjure up meaningful, weighty thoughts in my head – but I find myself wanting to know what Marling herself meant by them. She has said in interview before that ‘as much as you try to not be really self-indulgent with how you write you always end up writing about yourself’.

Another thing I like about Laura Marling is how utterly English she is; she completely typifies an English girl who grew up in the country (see interview here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVT3VW5ofa4&feature=related). It should also be noted she went to school where I swim (can you tell I’m obsessed?)

The album cover shows a naked figure meshed in combat with a black beast with pointy ears and scary looking teeth.  Perhaps symbolic of some profound message the designer is trying to convey… I think it’s just really rather nice to look at.

Down to business and on with the album. I think the entire album is just fantastic: relaxing, atmospheric, moody and fresh. The amount of instrumentation for each song is just perfect: Night after Night has a hypnotic, repetitive guitar strumming throughout with the odd harmony here and there to decorate the song.

The cathartic All My Rage has fun, frivolous vocals with building guitar and drums which lead up to a choral chant of;

‘Now all my rage been gone
I’d leave my rage to the sea and the sun’

I’m essentially saying that the album and indeed Laura are top. I Was Just A Card, I Don’t Know Why/ Salinas medley and Night After Night are definitely the songs to listen to if you are short of time or don’t have the whole album yet. Give her a listen and you will never look back (one day last week I got home from school and just watched interviews with her for about 2 hours, fair to say I am infatuated).

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BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB – A DIFFERENT KIND OF FIX REVIEW

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.

Best Tracks:

  1. Take The Right One
  2. What You Want
  3. Your Eyes
  4. How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep
  5. Leave It

Oscar B. Wilson

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