After what seemed like a more extended than usual three-year hiatus, Bombay Bicycle Club have made their triumphant return with their fifth studio album Everything Else Has Gone Wrong. Many of the band members dabbled in solo projects during this hiatus, but the band seem as refreshed and re-focused as ever on their latest offering. In a recent statement, the group confirmed this newfound enthusiasm by saying, “More than anything it just felt great to be in the same room playing again. It made us realize what a good thing we have and has given us renewed energy and enthusiasm for the future.” Longtime fans of the band have plenty of reason to be equally excited for the latest chapter in their discography, as the record encapsulates everything the band does well, while still including plenty of new surprises along the way.
Kicking off the set with the trademark synths and true to form sounds of “Get Up,” the record starts on the right footing. Its almost as if the band were picking themselves off the mat and putting out a disclaimer that they’re still the same band that their fans have grown to love. The introductory track quickly bleeds into the second song “Is It Real” and allows the album to solidify its primary purpose and direction. Filled with plenty of programmed drum beats and quick chord progressions, the band gets back to clicking on all cylinders. Lead vocalist Jack Steadman is as compelling as he’s ever been, and his voice projects with just the right amount of force to allow the vocals to soar over the instruments.
The current single, and the title track, follows the great duo of opening songs with a swagger to it, even if the lyrical content is hinting at the fact that they have nothing to lose since “everything else has gone wrong.” Guitarist Jamie MacColl and bassist Ed Nash play off of each other’s riffs majestically as the song unfolds into the bridge as Steadman sings triumphantly, “And yes I’ve found my second wind / And yes I’ve found my peace again.” The dual meaning of finding peace and comfort with starting over comes across nicely for the listener as they can also find comfort in realizing the band is getting their sea legs back on this track.
Other songs such as “Good Day” find the band hopeful for the future as they sing, “I just want to have a good day.” Their optimism is contagious as the rest of the record unfolds, as they seem to be putting all of the other negative vibes behind them.
The latter half of the record finds some of the introspection fading away into focusing on the outside world. Songs such as “I Worry Bout You,” outlines Steadman as a caring individual looking out for a friend. Whereas “People People” takes a longer look at the outside world through the lens of the band who has also reconnected with each other. Bombay Bicycle Club takes all of these observations in stride, and as much as it would have been easier to devote this record to reconnecting with each other, they still allow plenty of moments to observe the world we all are a part of.
The closing duo of “Let You Go” and “Racing Stripes” serves as a nice endcap to this latest chapter in the story of Bombay Bicycle Club. “Let You Go” outlines a tale of losing someone near and dear to the singer’s heart and the heartbreaking emotions of losing that connection. As much as the lyrical content could be seen as a “downer,” the actual music surrounding it is uplifting and hopeful. “Racing Stripes” closes out the record with a slow-burner of a track that serves as a summary of the content that came before it. Steadman references that “This light will keep me going / Wherever I may go,” as a way of bringing the uplifting messages and themes found on the LP back into the forefront of the listening experience.
Overall, it appears that Bombay Bicycle Club’s decision to reconnect with each other both as musicians and people have paid off. Everything Else Has Gone Wrong is a record that serves as a reminder to never lose focus on the human interactions with people, especially as the world around us can be filled with such hate and despair. The band should be commended for not allowing this message to be lost along the way of rediscovering their great band chemistry.