Album review by Carl Perks
I had time to drink a cup of coffee between North London’s Bombay Bicycle Club’s first and second album. By the time that I had put my cup down they had swayed from a bass-driven indie rock band to a back-to-basics folk ensemble.
I blame youth.
Winning the Virgin Mobile televised battle of the bands at the chubby-cheeked age of 15, the band named after an Indian food chain in the UK released two E.P. with B-sides that somewhat foretold the controversial and critically disapproved sound-change on their second album, Flaws. Both bite-sized records were comprised of upbeat indie rock anthems, yet B-sided by songs that where minimalist, fully acoustic, and reduced in tempo.
Once Bombay Bicycle Club released their first full musical effort, I Had the Blues but I Shook Them Loose, crowds of young hipster kids with torn jeans rushed to hear the sound of crashing cymbals and pulsing bass riffs.
I knew dramatic variations were to come once I heard that the tour supporting their new album, Flaws, would only take place in various churches and chapels.
Its UK release, only one year after their first album, took people off guard. Somewhere between the sound of Damien Rice, Devendra Banhart, Nick Drake, and Sufjan Stevens, the new album does not resemble a pompous young post-punk revivalist’s second effort in the least.
So is the new change for the best?
Despite some successfully catchy and upbeat melodies, most of the songs in Flaws are misses. The album is kicked off by the very upbeat “Rinse Me Down,” probably meant to be a hook-riddled tube, yet falling short at awkwardly produced and badly paired on an instrumental point of view. Another song that gives truth to the album title is the oversimplified, dumbed re-regurgitation of “Dust on the Ground,” a song that had no critical acclaim when they first released it on I Had the Blues but I Shook Them Loose.
The album should be downloaded in part instead of bought in its entirety.
If we forgo the lesser tracks, enchanting tunes such as the catchy banjo-ridden “Many Ways,” their single “Ivy & Gold” and the haunting “Leaving Blues” save the bands credibility.