In 2009, Bombay Bicycle Club, who had only recently left school, released their debut album, I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose – a guitar frenzy of indie songs with heartfelt lyrics reflecting the teenage years of lead singer Jack Steadman. In 2010, Bombay surprised fans and critics by releasing an entirely acoustic album. Flaws went into the top 10 of the album chart and proved that the North London boys were not just another indie band.
It’s 2011 and Bombay, although only just in their twenties, are on to their third album in three years. Given their musical unpredictability, A Different Kind Of Fix has been widely anticipated and well worth the wait. The first track, How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep, is a perfect opener. It eases the listener in through building on a repeated guitar riff and four lines of lyrics until the drums come crashing in and the song really takes off. This leads smoothly into the next track, Bad Timing, which with its heavy guitars and long instrumentals is a great song to see live.
Their next single, Lights Out Words Gone, has an incredibly catchy bassline – a theme that runs through the album as in many songs, the bass stands out above the vocals. While the album does encompass elements from both their debut and Flaws, A Different Kind Of Fix sees Bombay successfully experiment with electronics. The use of synthesisers and the heavy reverb on Steadman’s vocals as well as the cut up piano sample in first single, Shuffle, shows yet another side to the band. It is also the first indication of Steadman’s very different electronic solo music creeping into Bombay Bicycle Club tracks.
Lucy Rose, who appears as an additional vocalist on the title track on Flaws, sings on two thirds of the new album. Her soft but distinctive voice fits perfectly with Steadman’s dreamy vocals and when they sing in harmony, as on Beggars, the effect is striking. Closing the album is piano based Still, a track very different from anything they’ve done before. Both lyrically and musically, it is a beautiful song which shows how much the band has matured since their debut.
A Different Kind Of Fix may not have the frantic guitar sound of their outstanding debut or the delicateness of Flaws, but it is still very much a brilliant Bombay Bicycle Club record.