Tag Archives: Bombay Bicycle Club

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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Bombay Bicycle Club – Live Review

After seeing Bombay Bicycle Club twice before, both over the summer, I wasn’t sure what to expect as I counted down to the 11th October, where I would be seeing them at the O2 Academy Oxford.

The first time I saw them was their headlining set at Underage Festival, on the 5th of August. Despite only having a 45 minute set, I was particularly impressed with how they played the songs that I did know. The songs from their new album, none of which they had released except ‘Shuffle’, slightly bored me. Perhaps this was because they had such a different pace to I Had The Blues…, or maybe it’s because I like being able to sing along to every word when I see acts live. When around 1/3 of the songs they played were off an unreleased album, that I had no way of hearing before the evening, I wasn’t too impressed. Still, I went away with high hopes for seeing them at Reading Festival later that month.

I don’t think I can particularly judge their performance at Reading Festival, as I spent most of it isolated from most of my friends searching through the crowd for people we knew. And you know what crowds are like when they think you’re trying to push forward; they will not budge. Again, about 1/3 of their songs were new, and their third album was still yet to be released. Well, at least when I listened to their new album I already recognised quite a few of their songs.

11th October arrived. As we arrived in the venue (The O2 Academy Oxford – which to be honest, isn’t one of my favourites, but at least it keeps some intimacy) we heard the first of the support acts, who I don’t remember the name of and wouldn’t recommend listening to. I was severely disappointed actually, seeing as on the northern dates of their tour, BBC were supported by Dog Is Dead, a fantastic new band I had seen live once before and fallen in love with immediately. I figured that this support act must be on the same level as them, right? Wrong. We stayed sat down. The second support act were slightly more enjoyable, but perhaps that was just because we decided to secure a good spot in the crowd and were therefore forced to pay them more attention. Well, some attention. We were distracted by the 14 year old girls dancing near us like they were in an under 18’s club. I’ll say no more. 

Finally, Bombay Bicycle Club came on stage, and frankly, I was blown away. They oozed charisma like never before, and the crowd were brilliant. They opened with Shuffle, played a lot of A Different Kind Of Fix (which I enjoyed a lot more now since I had actually given the album a listen when hearing the songs live), a few songs from Flaws, and many songs from the eternally brilliant I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose. There’s nothing like standing in a crowd where everyone knows every word to every song. Most people even sang along to the guitar riffs. Brilliant. You could tell that the band enjoyed themselves, which I hadn’t seen at their festival performances, adding even more energy to the crowd. We were even treated to Open House, from one of their earliest EP’s, which really was a joy to hear live for any long term BBC fan, and is probably a song they won’t play live again outside of this tour.

(Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos that night, but here’s Bombay Bicycle Club in 2008. Check Jack’s hair.)

The encore was the perfect way to end their performance. After ‘ending’ on The Giantess (merged with the instrumental of Emergency Contraceptive Blues), the band left the stage to many cheers of an encore. A tense few minutes followed, where I was convinced they would continue with an encore but it seemed less likely by the second. Finally, Jack appeared, alone at the piano, where he performed a beautiful rendition of Still. But no, they didn’t just end it on that – the whole band joined for the final song, which happens to be my favourite Bombay Bicycle Club song of all time, What If. It was excellent, they were excellent, and the entire evening was… excellent.

I would strongly recommend seeing Bombay Bicycle Club live, but definitely on tour rather than at a festival. This way, not only do you get to hear around 10 more songs, the crowd are generally better and the whole performance is much more intimate. After seeing them in Oxford, I couldn’t resist buying tickets for their April tour, and I think you do too!

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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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GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL 2011 REVIEW

Michael Eavis, after this year’s Glastonbury said that the festival “may only have three years left”, both due to people being put off by cost and the fact that they’ve seen it all before. I agree with him, but where this might see an end to other festivals or at least their decline – most likely the festival republic group. Clearly shown by the Reading Festival line-up, firstly because it lacks two good headliners, everyone who wants to see Muse has seen them enough times now to get very bored, if not they aren’t people who are really going to enjoy a music festival because they are twelve years old and still at the stage of just listening to one album before they start to develop any taste at all. I do understand however that My Chemical Romance have to be put up with, even if they are even worse than Muse, simply because “Reading Rock” needs one day of rock emo-pop? Wait a second does it? I think not. The point that I’m trying to make is that none of it is new. The most exciting band playing this year at Glastonbury, and also at Reading formed in 1978 for Christ’s sake. Secondly, due to the price of seeing twenty bands whom you saw two months ago, in my case at Glastonbury and one band whom you’ve never seen, being nigh on £200. All we need is some new music.

We can’t expect any new music to be at festivals, especially in the next few years, if a replacement genre doesn’t grow quickly out of the death of indie, which too me is a necessity and the sooner the better, for the sake of new music and all festivals. Glastonbury however, is not going to die out even if it is the last festival standing – which no doubt it would be. Glastonbury’s immense variety and diversity of events many of which having nothing to do with music, make it better than any other festival – the healing, craft and green fields all making the festival a cut above the rest. The environmental concerns of the festival are also a great aspect, although a CND speak to an indifferent Pyramid crowd by Caroline Lucas, Green MP  just showed me that the general populous is uncaring for wider society and the survive and improvement of human civilisation. They were waiting to watch U2 so it probably was a crowd disproportionate of British people, or so I hope. I could say a lot on the green aspect of Glastonbury, environmentalism is personally of great importance the problem is the wider world doesn’t seem to find a fault.

Such experiences beyond music make Glastonbury the greatest festival in the world, the atmosphere for me in my third year was unbeatable – even the mud improved things, except from lengthening journey times and that can be a bit problematic on such a huge site. Mud and sun; a strange combination for the time of your life, until you remember the music but that’s what makes Glastonbury as well as the compulsory pie from Pie Minister next to the Brother Bar at West Holts, the nicest pies ever. Also Shangri-La after hours is a must, even if it is utterly pointless and you don’t like drum and bass dance music, it’s an unmissable spectacle of lights and dystopian devastation. If you fail to watch the fireworks and countless Chinese lanterns on a Thursday night you simply don’t deserve to be there. To name but a few of the sides to Glastonbury that give it such an atmosphere of liberation, yes including the pies.

Nothing that I have yet mentioned created such a euphoric atmosphere as the secret gig on Saturday on the Park Stage at sunset, on walks Jarvis Cocker to the largest ever crowd at the stage with people being turned away, people like Kate Moss! Do You Remember The First Time first up just hits the spot, and Jarvis’ banter “You didn’t think we were going to forget about you Glastonbury!” or words to that effect, to me Pulp are Glastonbury, they hit the big time after filling in as headliners in 1995 – making Common People a Glastonbury and a British Anthem. This time it was a brilliant nostalgic sing-a-long, at least for those how are old enough to have remember the mid-nineties.  For me it was unmatched control of the audience thanks to the brilliance of Jarvis, Babies, Sorted Out For E’s And Wizz, Disco 2000 and Sunrise. I can’t think of a better performance, without presuming too much I think it could have equalled their 1995 headline slot, said to be the greatest ever Glastonbury moment. This years is at least mine, the greatest gig that I have ever been to by a country mile.

There were other bands playing, but it only really needed one Pulp gig and I was satisfied, the rest of the weekend was a winding down process after the awe inspiring Pulp. So on to the rest, sadly for those who wanted to hear what I thought of Coldplay and Beyonce, shall not be in luck – I’m religiously stationed around the John Peel Tent and The Other Stage highlights included Everything Everything who played a brilliant set from their first album Man Alive, Tame Impala who are the new 60s Psychedelic revivalists, The Vaccines with some good snappy summer guitar tunes, and Bombay Bicycle Club who’s old material from I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose was as brilliant as always, Cancel On Me is an incredible song ruined by the new material that they have clearly based on Always Like This, the most commercially successful song off the first album and the worst on their – I am not expecting anything from what is undoubtedly going to be a mediocre second album. The Horrors came out with some very mature new material, with resemblances to Simple Minds and Orchestral Maneuverers in terms of the Syth, on first listen they showed that they were building on the brilliance of the second album Primary Colours, particularly with the previously released single Still Life, a strong contender for my personal Festive Fifty number one spot. It sounded superb live, they really have got the hang of the depth created using synthesizers and Faris Badwan has learnt to sing. Skying is going to be some third album.

Three bands all with female front women, really showed some class, The Joy Formidable have improved no end in the 10 months or so since I last saw them live, and they were brilliant then – I suspect this to be down to the chemistry created by the three-piece playing in a line with Matt on drums on centre left rather than behind, plus the addition of a centre stage seven-foot gong pleases me. Warpaint whose ghostly EP Exquisite Corpse far outshone the later debut album The Fool, but luckily they played these earlier songs, and to great effect including the raising of the hairs on the back of my neck, a must listen for a fan of the Cocteau Twins and Siouxsie And The Banshees. The same as Esben and the Witch, to whom I would possibly add Florence And The Machine to the influences of band that sound like a gothic fairy tale, just like their name sake. There album Violet Cries was recently released and is well worth a listen, even if it isn’t the most accessible of albums.

Nothing came close to Jarvis and Pulp, such an strong atmosphere and set list, the headliners of my Glastonbury Festival 2011, and I’m sure quite a few of that crowd’s as well. Eavis is wrong, money and recycling bands aren’t ever going to put people off Glastonbury, such things have no importance, the festival is an escape and a way of life that is as far away from dying off as it is possible to be. Love the farm, don’t leave a trace. I love the farm but always leave a trace of myself, part of my soul there, in those fields of Avalon.

Oscar B. Wilson

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