For a band who clearly know their way around a studio – those complex arrangements will entail some clever button-pushing – it’s fitting that their new album is being launched at the world’s most famous.
Beneath the gaze of the Fab Four, Pink Floyd, Jagger and others whose pictures adorn the white walls of iconic studio two, Bombay Bicycle Club play a neat, hour-long set, and it’s clear from the off that they’ve moved up yet another gear.
The new material soars and bounces, allowing a bit more breathing room for the catchy hooks
Frontman Jack Steadman recently told the NME that ‘sampling’ has been an inspiration of late, which could have meant a worrying detour into Soup Dragons territory. But for an outfit adept at seamlessly adding multiple colours to their indie palette, this is no baggy-rock cul-de-sac.
Quite the opposite. From the serious groove of opening newbie Overdone to the rhythmic, reverb-heavy Luna, the new material soars and bounces and lifts off, allowing a bit more breathing room for the catchy hooks and choruses.
The band’s globe-trotting has also been an influence, evident on Feel, which flips a Moroccan, percussive vibe into a brassy pop mover. It sounds like Madness jamming with Tinariwen, and gets the young crowd shaking their beard fluff.
The bigger sound requires more hands on deck, so the Crouch End foursome are joined by a three-piece horn section, plus extra drums and keyboards, the latter adding a dusting of ’80s retro to one or two tracks.
In total, more than 92,000 people have sold The Big Issue since 1991 to help themselves work their way out of poverty – more than could fit into Wembley Stadium.
A few from the back catalogue are aired, and whilst welcomed like old friends, they play second fiddle to their new, exciting cousins. Always Like This from the debut is the penultimate song, and Steadman misses his cue. “It would help if you sang along,” he chides the audience, but he’s too nice a guy, and later apologises for “being defensive”.
The set finishes with Carry Me, a dark, primal beat layered with a wash of choppy, passionate guitars. Destined to be a BBC classic.
So, very much looking forward to the new album – and the one after that, too.