Last year's I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose unveiled Bombay Bicycle Club as an indie band with zest, harmonies and effects pedals. However, the follow-up finds them ditching electric guitars for acoustic folk, enabling guitarist Jamie MacColl to follow his dynastic calling – his musician father Neill co-produces. There are some lovely songs – Many Ways is particularly pleasantly reminiscent of the first Lilac Time album. However, none of Jack Steadman's own words quite match the descriptive beauty in a cover of John Martyn's Fairytale Lullaby ("Bow your head, let your eyelids close on down"). Although the occasional restrained bass works well, this transitional album works best with just voice and guitar: Rinse Me Down would sound better without any drums, never mind machine gun rolls. Leaving Blues is Steadman's haunting account of having to say goodbye, which he might find himself singing to the rhythm section before long.
Bombay Bicycle Club: Flaws | CD review
Dave Simpson is a Guardian music critic and author