Indie band tops charts

Over the past decade the term “indie” has been used to describe so many different bands and sounds that it has almost lost all power of description. A genre that can claim both Death Cab for Cutie and Fleet Foxes is a very broad one. Despite this vagueness, there is a recognizably indie sound which Bombay Bicycle Club has typified on their latest release “So Long, See You Tomorrow.” Debuting at No. 1 on the Official UK Album Charts, this is the album for anyone who hasn’t a clue what indie rock is, or simply wants to know “what the kids are listening to.”

“So Long, See You Tomorrow” is the band’s fourth album and it sees frontman Jack Steadman taking on more responsibility, not only penning the album’s 10 tracks but functioning as it’s sole producer. This gives him more control in the studio, resulting in a cohesive, focused sound throughout the album.

Steadman spends much of his time off traveling alone throughout Europe and Asia, using the lack of daily routine to spur his creativity and songwriting. Written during a two-week stint in a barn in the Netherlands, this album is littered with evidence of the places he has been. “Luna” features marimba and tabla, “Feel” samples a track straight out of Bollywood, and all of these sounds give each track a distinct feeling and flavor. Pairing these non-western sounds and samples with an epic sense of scope, “So Long, See You Tomorrow” delivers an experience that feels like a journey in itself.

The album opens with “Overdone,” a track that signals much of what follows, featuring catchy vocal melodies delivered in a not-so-perfect indie style and a groove reminiscent of early hip-hop. Fading in with a sample, the band uses it to establish a feel and then falls into something distinctly their own, not relying on the sample to keep the song interesting. The exotic sounds and samples are never used for novelty on this album, but rather to augment Steadman’s songwriting.

The single “Carry Me” is the album’s strongest song, featuring a syncopated rhythm pattern and a female vocal track as a complement to Steadman’s. The short, repetitive vocalization of “carry me,” a technique found in quite a few of these songs, will undoubtedly be stuck in your head immediately after listening. Also notable is the title track, which closes the album by setting up an easy fade out, then pleasantly surprises by crashing into a danceable drum groove to send us off.

While there may not be anything particularly groundbreaking happening on this LP, these are well-written songs with interesting arrangements and production. Catchy and upbeat, the album finds strength in it’s energy, not even slowing for the entirety of its ballad. There is a depth to these songs that warrants multiple listenings, and their catchiness will keep you coming back for more, saying “so long, see you tomorrow.”

4 stars out of 5.