REVIEW: BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB AT THE METRO THEATRE

March 30, 2012, 4:44 pm Frances Mao Yahoo!7 Music

Our Yahoo!7 Music reviewer, Frances Mao, saw Bombay Bicycle Club perform at Sydney's Metro Theatre.

Rating:


Well, at least the wheels didn't come off. In fact, I'm sure the all-ages crowd (read: as young as they come, mosh-pit mum in tow) at a sold-out Metro venue thought Bombay Bicycle Club was firing on all cylinders.

The young London-based band takes their name from a curry-house chain back home, and on Thursday night served up an eclectic, at times dodgy, mix that covered both old and new material. This is both good and bad.

While a whipped-up crowd threw themselves headlong into every song with scary happy-clappy enthusiasm that had the waifish-looking frontman Jack Steadman grinning all night, the less slavishly devoted found room to pause and less to smile about.

So let's get to the good parts.

BBC have pumped out three, stylistically, very different albums in the span of as many years, but its the dreamy synth-pop from 2011's 'A Different Kind of Fix' that has attracted praise from critics and a whole new range of fans.

Steadman's layered vocals glide over dreamy chill-waves and looped samples in songs that remind you of oh, I dunno, the dappled light of summer, and creep into your head with their killer melodies. One hears varied influences - a bit of post-Vampire Weekend's African rhythm here, a jangly Gallic keyboard riff evoking Phoenix there, and an overall nod to the pastel dreamscapes of Goldfrapp.

These tracks are the band's biggest hits, and shimmered on the night. BBC wisely opened and closed their set with two such wonders - "How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep?" and "Shuffle" - songs which picked the crowd up and carried them in an euphoric wave of sweet hooks and effects.

Such blissful, infectious moments in the show though served only to be short-lived instances of levity from the currents of droning alt-rock that sluiced off the backs of a moshing crowd.

This teen bunch was keen for anything - erupting during the stomp of "Always Like This" and old classic "Dust on the Ground" - but this reviewer was unfazed by the muddy and distorted indie-rock of BBC's earlier albums.

A friend said their dense, dank indie-rock reminded her of 'dark caves', and well, this reviewer hates dark caves. Their 'Mumford-etc-folk acoustic' set also didn't fare much better. While Steadman's trembling voice in the winsome melodies of "Rinse Me Down" and "Ivy and Gold" may have held many fans enraptured, its childish quality was received as more irksome than charming to those less wide-eyed and dewy.

So it was a breath of fresh air whenever the band kicked into the cool, gauzy "Lights Out, Words Gone" or "Take The Right One In" after a few bog standard Brit-indie numbers, but these moments were scattered few and far between. Chances are, for those who came along hoping to trip the light fantastic, they felt the walls closing in instead.