Album #11: Bombay Bicycle Club – Everything Else Has Gone Wrong

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: London, England
  • Label: Mmm… Records
  • Best Track: Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)

This isn’t a great thing to admit, but I wouldn’t say I’m a music fan who reacts too well to change. While most critics tend to expect bands to mature and develop their sound, I’m quite happy for them to stick to a winning formula, rather than try something new and stuff it up.

I say this because Bombay Bicycle Club is a band that’s subverted my normal expectations over the years. I really liked their first two albums, especially the 2009 debut I Had the Blues but I Shook Them Loose, with its indie/post-punk riffs and anxious yet witty lyrics. Then, on 2011’s aptly named A Different Kind of Fix, they shook it up completely, dabbling in dance. And it worked – even better than their early work in my opinion.

The experiment has since continued, and fifth album Everything Else Has Gone Wrong firmly cements the band’s sound as a unique mixture of post-punk, folk and electronic pop. First track ‘Get Up’ opens with a synthy horn sound that reminds me of a UB40 song I can’t place right now, before Jack Steadman’s tender voice leads us into the chugging guitars, and furious medley of drums and keyboards. Just over two minutes long, it’s a bright, lively and uplifting introduction.

The title track offers perhaps the most memorable chorus on the album, along with the striking lyric ‘Keep the stereo on/Everything else has gone wrong’. Perhaps I’m taking it too literally, but it seems a fitting summary of where Britain is right now – grim, desperate and low on hope, but at least the music’s good.

The wonderful ‘Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)’ has been out for getting on for six months now. It really needs a summer to go with it! A beautiful and moving song, with heartfelt lyrics and a dreamy ’80s aura.

It takes real talent to write music that’s melodic and danceable, yet retains enough of an edge to avoid being cheesy and naff. Along with the The Drums, Bombay Bicycle Club are showing themselves to be masters at hitting that sweet spot.

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