Londoners Bombay Bicycle Club have perfected the art of writing catchy, inoffensive pop that showcases their ability to recreate the sounds of their idols without injecting any of their own personality into the music. Their debut LP I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose is a so-so effort that plays it safe with a myriad of post-punk and new wave influences that doesn‘t offer anything new to the world of indie music.
Vocalist Jack Steadman has one of those voices that either inspires swooning adoration for its quirkiness or advanced levels of rage for the warbling timbre that is sure to grate on many ears. Either way the vocals suit the music, which on the whole is a rather underwhelming affair. Opener “Emergency Contraception Blues” is a heady instrumental mess of shoe-gaze guitars that bleeds right into “Lamplight”, a track that steadily plods along without any climax or energy to reel the listener in.
Which is the problem with this album in general. The songs are well written and the boys are technically competent, but I’ve been listening to this record for a solid week and still couldn’t tell you the names of the tracks I enjoy from memory as the album is such a bland, safe, over-produced pool of monotony that suffers severely from the makers lack of passion and intensity.
“Always Like This” is one of the few saving graces with the slow burning melancholy of Steadman’s vocal delivery preventing it from being mere filler like the majority of the record. Final track “The Giantess” is another good tune where the band step out of their comfort zone with a quiet, brooding moment of delicate eastern inspired melodies that are inherently pretty.
The youngsters of Bombay Bicycle Club have nothing to say, their lyrics offer no social commentary or engaging emotional substance and there is little in the way of texture or variety with their sound. The majority of their songs go down the same way, and with no peaks or troughs to hold your attention. I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose is an album full of background elevator style music that is punctuated by a couple of extra catchy radio friendly singles that were well received when the record was originally released in the UK back in 2009.
If they are hoping to conquer the Australasian market then they’re going to have to dig a lot deeper than this as their debut is the kind of record that breeds familiarity and comfort, but it is nothing to get excited about.
Review Score: 5/10