Bombay Bicycle Club Not to be confused with the London curry house Bombay Bicycle Club, this Indie band have proved that even though they are stil young, age is not everything. With an ever-growing fan base, they can meet any challenge head on.
hey’ve come a long way from humble beginnings; playing gigs at school and other small venues including The Old Blue Last, Jacksons Land and Lark in the Park near their hometown Crouch End, London. With their new album, Flaws, on sale it’s hard to believe these four men only finished school in 2008. The band comprises Jack Steadman (lead vocalist, guitar, xylophone, banjo, triangle), Ed Nash (bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, mandolin), Jamie MacColl (lead guitar, backing vocals, banjo, theramin) and Suren de Saram (drums, guitar, backing vocals). The haunting yet melodic tone of their music sounds like folk and indie fused to produce tracks that grow more enjoyable with each play. Steadman said their musical style “Is not folk. We’re calling it…er…the music with no name.” Their debut album, I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Off reached a peak position in the UK music charts at only number 46 in 2009, and there has been a rise in coverage as their second album Flaws, released on July 12th 2010 with Island Records reached a peak position in the UK chart at number 8. Tracks like “Always Like This” and “Ivy and Gold” have combined the contrasting melodies of mandolins, drums, banjos and guitars to create a familiar yet ghostly style to Bombay Bicycle Club’s music. Since winning Channel 4’s “Road to V” competition in 2006, Bombay Bicycle Club have come far, playing gigs nation-wide, including the Carling Stage at Reading and Leeds Festivals in 2007, The Great Escape Festival in Brighton in 2008, and the big top stage at the Isle of Wight festival 2010. With upcoming performances at The Queen Elizabeth Hall in London on December 4th, 2010 and Troxy in London the day after, the band is hardpushed with their workload, as they continue work on their third album. Steadman insists that their third LP will lean more towards rock than folk, toying with elements of hip-hop, electronica, free jazz and even influences from Frank Zappa.
Regarding their new album, Guitarist Jamie MacColl stated that, “You could call it ‘The Acoustic Album’, but I don’t like calling it that. It conjures up images of something a bit lame.” This may be how they started out, but they have come a long way as performers since forming in 2005 at University College School in Hampstead. You could be mistaken for thinking MacColl had written the lyrics for Flaws, being born into a family known for their music. His grandfather Ewan MacColl was renowned in the world of folk-acoustic music as his track Dirty Old Town led to a revival of folk music and was covered by Rod Steward and the Pogues, among many others. Folk music has the reputation of being something of a misfit within society, and many describe it as telling a story or conveying a deep and meaningful message. Ivy and Gold doesn’t tell much of a story, but it does have a gentle, lilted melody to it which highlights that this song is the album’s liveliest track. Take a closer look and you suddenly realise that these four artists don’t look like they are old enough to shave, let alone play in front of thousand strong audiences at various festivals they have frequented. Some who have seen them playing live have described them as, “One of the only good things to come from this weekend” and another fan saying, “They are so young, you wouldn’t think that of their music when you listen to it at home.” Regardless of their ever-growing fame and popularity, there are still some that view them as “just another indie wanna-be band.” This is open for debate but you have to take into account with a band that can successfully create a melody incorporating banjo’s, triangle’s and a mandolin whilst capturing the subtle and evocative tones of folk music fused with other genre muses can’t be all that bad.
“You could call it the ‘Acoustic Album’, but I don’t like calling it that. It conjures up images of something a bit lame”
With tickets for XFM Winter Wonderland going on sale Friday 5th November it remains to be seen whether their performances are all that are expected of them.
Quote Source: Courtesy of The Observer, June 27th 2010 Picture Source: www.bombaybicycleclubmusic.com Written by Rob Hewitt