– 2024 LINE UP –
BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB
Bombay Bicycle Club have been writing songs for Saturday nights and songs for Sunday mornings since their mid-teens. That they’re now barely in their thirties and remain one of the most inventive, insistent and, arguably, influential British guitar bands of the past generation says much to their powers of reinvention. But it also speaks to the band’s effortless ear for a melody and the masters of its deployment.
By 2011, and now fully in their stride, the band turned left once more to deliver A Different Kind Of Fix. It was a record that took, sonically at least, two big steps forward. An imaginative, but no less infectious collection of oddball pop songs that spawned the likes of Shuffle and How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep, and painted Bombay Bicycle Club in vivid splashes of colour.
Three years passed before the band reappeared with So Long, See You Tomorrow in 2014. A real “Greatest Hits” of a record, the likes of Carry Me, Luna, Feel all providing texture and leftfield rhythms that suggested a band in their absolute prime and at their heights of invention. It’s incredible to consider that the band were still a young band by anyone’s standards, but able to sound so accomplished, unpredictable and imaginative on an album that shone as a worthy nomination for 2014’s Mercury Music Prize. The band concluded the album’s cycle by selling out London’s Earls Court – the last show before it was demolished. That Bombay Bicycle Club took its roof off was a timely prelude to its eventual destruction.
BAT FOR LASHES
Natasha Khan is a British Pakistani artist, currently living in London. Khan is primarily a musician, singer and songwriter and has been a professional recording artist under the moniker “Bat For Lashes” for the past 15 years.
She has released five studio albums as Bat For Lashes, three of which charted in the UK top 10. Natasha has three Mercury Prize nominations, three BRIT Awards nominations and two Ivor Novello’s wins, for Song of the Year and Best Soundtrack in 2019. Her music and soundtrack writing has been used across films, such as ‘The Twilight Saga’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ as well as fashion campaigns such as Thierry Mugler, Chanel, Gucci and Miu Miu.
Natasha has performed globally at Coachella, Glastonbury, Latitude and Laneway amongst others, she has supported Radiohead, Coldplay and Depeche Mode on extensive tours.
Alvvays never intended to take five years to finish their third album, the nervy joyride that is the compulsively lovable Blue Rev. In fact, the band began writing and cutting its first bits soon after releasing 2017’s Antisocialites.
In October 2021, when they arrived at a Los Angeles studio with fellow Canadian Shawn Everett, he urged them to forget the careful planning they’d done and just play the stuff, straight to tape. On the second day, they ripped through Blue Rev front-to-back twice, pausing only 15 seconds between songs and only 30 minutes between full album takes. And then, as Everett has done on recent albums by The War on Drugs and Kacey Musgraves, he spent an obsessive amount of time alongside Alvvays filling in the cracks, roughing up the surfaces, and mixing the results. This hybridized approach allowed the band to harness each song’s absolute core, then grace it with texture and depth. Keyboardist Kerri MacLellan joined Rankin and guitarist Alec O’Hanley to write more this time, reinforcing the band’s collective quest to break patterns heard on their first two albums.
The results are beyond question: Blue Rev has more twists and surprises than Alvvays’ cumulative past, and the band seems to revel in these taken chances. This record is fun and often funny, from the hilarious reply-guy bash of “Very Online Guy” to the parodic grind of “Pomeranian Spinster.”Blue Rev doesn’t simply reassert what’s always been great about Alvvays but instead reimagines it. They have, in part and sum, never been better.
Music & Culture Festival
Centre Culturel de Rencontre
Abbaye de Neumünster
28, rue Münster
G.-D. de Luxembourg