ALBUM REVIEW: Bombay Bicycle Club “Flaws”

Release Date: 12th July 2010
Label: Island

Bombay Bicycle Club’s debut album “I Had The Blues But Shook Them Loose” is a distance memory with the release of their new album “Flaws”. The shift towards the acoustic, more melodic rhythms, would certainly be something of a challenge for many bands – particularly for an entire album which is only the band’s second release. However, it must be said that Bombay Bicycle Club have succeeded in creating a sound which looks to not define them, but sees them successfully defining a sound.

‘Rinse Me Down’ is the opening track with a distinct machine gun drum beat, and a driving sound that makes it stand out for one very important reason – it isn’t like other acoustic tracks which can sometimes flounder in quiet anonymity. This purposeful sound continues with ‘There Are Many Ways’, which has an individual tone, and an element of innocence in its sound.

Bombay Bicycle Club haven’t produced the classic example of an excellent acoustic album – sounding less like a bad recording, and more like a complete piece of art.  That sense of completeness is prevalent throughout, and evidenced in the new version of ‘Dust On The Ground’ which has sneaked in from the last album. The distinctive vocals of Jack Steadman and a mellow guitar in the background, suggest to the listener that this is much more astute version of the original track, explicitly defining just where BBC are now.

The medley of tracks in the mid-section are well-rounded, slower affairs – Steadman’s vocals pushing at the limits of acoustic understanding. Perhaps the best track on the album is ‘My God’, 150 seconds of something special. The Spanish-sounding guitar, the thought-provoking lyrics, and the curiously wandering rhythm make this a hypnotically delicate track which draws in the listener up to the last second, and leaves you with a need for more.

Others would suggest that BBC are now following in the footsteps of Mumford & Sons, and other assorted bands in the folk cross-over genre, but compare their first two albums and you will see the confidence in the band to experiment and push away from the conventional. Yes, this won’t be to all their fans’ tastes, however, there will be many that will recognise this as something special – as it should be.

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Constantinos Kypridemos

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