So after last year’s critically acclaimed Flaws, a delicate, acoustic driven sophomore LP, Bombay Bicycle Club have returned with their third album, entitled A Different Kind Of Fix, and how right they are. Within 15 seconds of opening track ‘How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep’s’ looping guitar riff commencing, it sounds like the sound of their first album. But there is something new lying beneath the obvious indie-guitar driven sound this time around; it’s something that shows a band willing to take chances, to play around with their sound, and ultimately, a band getting it very right.
With Animal Collective collaborator Ben Allen having an input in this record, the swooning, fractured electro sound associated with Animal Collective seeps into several of the tracks. As mentioned earlier, the opening track has a very reminiscent Bombay Bicycle Club riff, but then we get jittered, jumpy vocals in places, with smooth harmonies sandwiched in there as well. First single ‘Shuffle’ plays a similar trick, but with a fantastically wonky piano track running as the main ingredient around which everything else is built. Lucy Rose lends her vocals alongside Jack Steadman’s on Shuffle, and it’s a trick that is repeated on other tracks. It works well due to her having the same timid sounding voice as Steadman, while also having this charming sweetness quality to it. Shuffle is pinned down as track six, and really feels like the lynchpin of the album. Everything that precedes it feels like it is brought together in that one track and everything that follows it takes that sound in other directions.
Another stand-out track is ‘Lights Out, Words Gone’ as Steadman and Rose’s vocals intertwine sweetly. ‘Beggars’ opens up coyly in a Flaws kind of way, before the pace picks up, with the bass and percussion being as creative and imaginative as we’ve come to expect from this band, providing a whole extra level of depth to their sound. ‘What You Want’ is energetic and beautiful, with perky runaway-train sounding guitar riffs slicing through the peak of the chorus, as Steadman sings: “You can rearrange me now,” just about summing up the ethos of the album.
It’s a triumphant success for a band that are merrily riding their bicycles through whichever genres they please, as they continue to grow, develop and firmly cement themselves as one of the best bands this fair country has to offer.