Bombay Bicycle Club – Rinse Me Down

Release Date 20/09/2010 (Universal-Island Records)

By Chris Oliver

Rinse Me DownMuffled drums without cymbals and purely acoustic guitars give ‘Rinse Me Down’ a sort of ‘farmhouse folk’ feel. It’s all in keeping with the very diatonic, upbeat folk of the moment. It is very lively – in an understated way – especially when the hi-hat kicks in before the second verse, bringing in an uplifting instrumental. It could be a long-lost Stone Roses b-side, but for the softness (and tunefulness) of the vocals and the restrained production.

Previous Bombay Bicycle Club material has been produced in a very quirky sort of way, while this particular song is much more ‘simple but effective’ with its intertwining riffs and almost clichéed ideas for the production – there is nothing at all surprising about the inclusion of tambourine and mandolin, for example – but it all works. The vocals seem more tempered and less stylized than in the past. The vocal harmonies are a little muddled, but have a really nice texture.

The music seems to have made a bit of a departure too – not sounding very much like the stuff I’ve heard before. I have a great deal of respect for bands who can throw out songs in varying styles – especially when they fit the mood of the music – but I have a great deal of contempt for bands who twist in the wind simply to pander to a ‘mainstream audience’ or to fish for praise in the notoriously fickle music press.

I’m liking this single and waiting for the b-side to see whether it is another in the same mould or something different, but the second song ‘Dorcas’ never comes. I certainly hope it’s my promotional copy and not everyone in the run, but it’s a let-down. I guess this should make me rate ‘Rinse me Down’ higher, as it leaves me wanting more – which is clearly a good thing for a single – but really it just makes me a bit miffed that I don’t have more to judge this by.

I am even more disappointed when I go looking for the band online and find a curry restaurant, but that’s by-the-by. It turns out that ‘Dorcas’ is a fairly unremarkable guitar solo piece that would make suitable background to a slideshow about wine production in rural Southern Europe. It would have done little to enhance my enjoyment of this record – and its omission arguably makes it better. I would love a copy of the album if it matches the quality of ‘Rinse Me Down’, but alone this single isn’t enough.

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