Bombay Bicycle Club, ‘Fantasies’ — 4/5 stars

An airy, ethereal and hopeful departure

Bombay Bicycle Club and I have a complicated relationship. 

I never talk about them being a favourite of mine when in heated discussions about music. In fact, I often forget about them entirely when suggesting music to others. 

Yet several of their albums have accompanied me through such pivotal moments in my life, and every time I revisit their work, I am always impressed and moved.

When listening to their latest EP Fantasies, released Feb. 23, I was expecting to hear a completely unfamiliar sound that comes naturally with musicians as time goes on, the expected evolution of artists. 

However, I was pleasantly surprised with how Bombay Bicycle Club yet again subverted my expectations with this EP. 

Fantasies contains four tracks with four different featured musicians collaborating on them, Matilda Mann, Liz Lawrence, Lucy Rose and Rae Morris. 

The EP leans heavily into the dreamy sounds of two other albums in their discography, which happen to be my favourites, Everything Else Has Gone Wrong and A Different Kind of Fix

There’s the slightly faster-paced beat and bass of Everything Else Has Gone Wrong but with the blended ethereality of A Different Kind of Fix.  

Despite these similarities, however, Bombay Bicycle Club is trying to chart a course into a sound that, while paying homage to its roots, needs to take its own path, and I can respect and see that in Fantasies with how much more airy it sounds. 

Perhaps it’s the xylophone, which takes centre stage, in the third track on the album.  

Though I would never really consider the music the band made previously as heavy, the EP manages to retroactively leave that impression with how bright and uplifting it sounds, particularly with my favourite and last song on the track list, “Better Now (feat. Rae Morris).” 

With fast-paced basslines matched with soft ethereal vocals, I found myself nodding my head in time almost immediately with the chorus and the striking imagery provoked — “All rise with me like burning suns you’re asking me where I’m coming from.”

All in all, while activating some nostalgia for hot summers and first dates, the EP calls back to previous favourite tracks — one of which I’ve put on a “Basement Mixtapes for Bisons” playlist in the past. Fantasies branches out from albums of the past to provide a light and warm soundtrack that feels joyous and hopeful. 

A testimony to the indomitable human spirit and its ability to keep going no matter what.