My first musical discovery of 2012: Bombay Bicycle Club.
At the start of the year, I had been searching for significant album releases of 2011. I had not been able to listen to, let alone review, many new releases of last year. After deciding to keep it regular this time, I scoured all the major releases(which I had left) from 2011, most conspicuously Tom Waits‘ Bad as Me, The Hunter by Mastodon, Imaginaerum by Nightwish, Evanescence‘s eponymous album. On a whim, maybe intrigued by the name, I also took A Different Kind of Fix by Bombay Bicycle Club.
The very first listening of the album shook me with pleasant surprise, albeit being utterly unfamiliar with indie rock genre. This was not like the incomprehensible indie and art-rock songs I’ve tried my hardest to listen to and grasp, and fail miserably; it was to a certain degree incomprehensible, yes, but immensely likable. Somewhere, they sound struck just the right chord, so you catch their frequency even if the dynamics of the sound elude you.
The opener, How could you swallow so much sleep, remains my favorite, as one I listened to first and most. The dreamy sound, and opening crescendo, like a dream slowly opening its eyes to the world, was just awesome. Coupled with the somnolent lyrics spoken in a dazed, wandering voice of Jack Steadman, provide for just the right mixture of optimism and melancholy for you to get high on this song. The next song, Bad Timing, put me a little off-track though, but they return with a similar but stronger and less dreamy sound of Your Eyes, right after which there is the triple-punch of Lights Out, Words Gone, Take the Right One, and Shuffle. These songs, combining the dreamy sound of the first song, with more optimism, more involved and surreal lyrics to form the best part of the album. Lights Out, Words Gone take you again on a dreamy journey, ascending continuously higher with Take the Right One, until the eerily discontinuous Shuffle jolts you right back into reality. Later songs feature as surreal and odd lyrics, but are built around equally weirdly interesting sounds, not as dreamy and surreal, but more catchy, pop-sounding, and taking unexpected detours in place. Leave it, and Favorite Day are very good too.
Now I think I need to listen to their previous works. This album has dispelled my doubts as to whether I’ll be able to enjoy any indie/art/avant-garde/alternative rock music, at least temporarily. The first half of the album reminds me strongly of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, though with significantly less sound amplification, distortion and noise. But the dreaminess, melancholy, and surrealism is there.