a record with its heart in Seattle and Portland, not Camden, and all the better for it...
David Renshaw
00:27 22nd June 2009

You might think that Bombay Bicycle Club have been around for ages and in a way they have. First coming to the publics attention in 2006 the four piece from London won a televised contest to play at V Festival and have meandered around the fringes of consciousness ever since. Inbetween then and now they released two EP’s and more importantly finished school, yes BBC are precociously young and fantastically talented.

Unlike some bands who wait to release material and miss their opportunity the time BBC have spent away from the hype has allowed them to grow into a mature and rich group who use influences wisely and evoke a depth beyond their years. Juxtapose their early material like ‘Open House’ (not on this record) with its jittery guitars and poppy leanings against the achingly beautiful ‘Always Like This’ and you realise that the past three years have seen the band gain skills far more important than A-Levels.

Throughout ‘I Had The Blues...’ there is a spirit of warmth and safety in amongst the teenage frisson of romance and heartbreak. The influence of alt Gods Pavement and Guided By Voices looms large with the slacker vocals and lo-fi strumming of the guitars but like those before them BBC purvey an overwhelming sense of passion and yearning through the nonchalance. Take ‘Lamplight’s’ moments of stillness rubbing up against blasts of noise reminiscent of the dynamic made famous by Pixies and Nirvana, the Elliot Smith-esque ‘The Giantess’ or the distorted vocals and rumbling bass of ‘Magnet’- this is a record with its heart in Seattle and Portland not Camden and it’s all the better for it.

BBC might be teenagers themselves but they are not just a band for their age group, a CD doesn’t show the fresh-faces and gangly frames when you press play on this record all you her is fantastic music and the start of a great career. Where most young bands sound derivative or hackneyed BBC come over as wise and earnest- traits you can’t teach or learn. Honest, open and beguiling, Bombay Bicycle Club do an excellent job of shaking loose those pesky blues.