January 18, 2020 Bombay Bicycle Club – Everything Else Has Gone Wrong (Album Review)
Bombay Bicycle Club took six years to follow up its last album, but the result is worth the wait! It must be remembered that the experimental and progressive flare of So Long, See You Tomorrow of 2014 was what catapulted the English band from underground status to commercial popularity, setting the bar high for whatever was there to come next. The followup did come! But will it surpass its predecessor, or at the least stand on a par with this?
Formed in 2005, in London, England, by Jack Steadman (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Jamie MacColl (guitar), Suren de Saram (drums), and Ed Nash (bass), Bombay Bicycle Club has now five studio albums on its members’ sleeves—from the guitar-oriented, Post-Punk-influenced I Had the Blues but I Shook Them Loose of 2009 to the just unleashed, by now familiar New Wave / Indietronica sound of Everything Else Has Gone Wrong.
Out Friday, January 17th, 2020, on the band’s own imprint Mmm… Records, Everything Else Has Gone Wrong opens with the short, loopy, baggy ditty “Get Up,” which exudes faint echoes of the ’90s Britpop Dance movement fueled by the likes of Happy Mondays (“Step On”), The Soup Dragons (“I’m Free), and The Farm (“Groovy Train”). This is then followed by the album’s fifth single—the catchy, sunny, upbeat “Is It Real?,” securing Bombay Bicycle Club’s place in the bright, new Pop decade. The hypnotic and soulful swagger of the title-track then plays next, in which Steadman utters his sentiments in a seeming mantra, reminiscent of INXS’s “Mediate,” U2’s “Numb,” and Porno for Pyros’s “Pets.”
Bombay Bicycle Club slows down the pace and mood for a bit with the aptly “I Can Hardly Speak”—alluring, melodic, slick. An even softer and more subdued track comes next in the form of the quietly sunny “Good Day.” The rhythm and beat pick up pace again with the lead single “Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing but You),” taking the listener to the feel-good vibrations of the 2000s Post-Punk Revival era.
“I Worry ’bout You” is what may be regarded as a Sophisti-Alternative-Pop ballad, infectious with its surfacing-in-the-mix keyboard melody. Featuring the English singer Liz Lawrence on second vocals, “People People” has that Arabian synth flavor to it. The ensuing “Do You Feel Loved?” builds on this exotic sonic foundation. The penultimate track, “Let You Go” is a lullaby-esque, mood-relaxing Synthpop-stylized song—comforting, positively numbing, and mind expanding.
Finally, Steadman, MacColl, De Saram, and Nash wrap up their latest offering appropriately with the Worldbeat-inspired instrumentation of “Racing Stripes,” which will fit onto a playlist that includes Vampire Weekend’s “Oxford Comma.” T.V. on the Radio’s “Golden Age,” and Cornershop’s “Sleep on the Left Side.”
Everything Else Has Gone Wrong is definitely a proper comeback record for the now 15-year-old English Indie Rockers. The quality of the songs displays how their music has lyrically matured and stylistically broadened yet maintained being grounded in their roots. No doubt, Everything Else Has Gone Wrong was able to meet expectations. It sits well on Bombay Bicycle Club’s discography. Cryptic Rock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.