Album round-up: Beck, Bombay Bicycle Club

beck-morning-phase-cover-artBeck – Morning Phase

Anyone without cranial damage knows for a fact that Beck’s Sea Change is one of the best albums of the last decade. Beck has himself said that Morning Phase would return to that vibe – hell, even the cover is evocative of that previous work – so it comes as no surprise that this latest record ranks as his second best of all time. The opening strains of Cycle herald a dawn, swiftly followed by the gently arresting Morning and Heart is a Drum, which radiate warmth. That’s the key word for Beck this time round – we’re away from the clunky experimental phase, instead rewarded with beauties like Say Goodbye and Blue Moon. While most of us might associate a Morning Phase with a snooze button or a quickie, Beck chooses to bask in the sunshine of a new day. And it’s wonderful.

1.-Bombay-Bicycle-Club-So-Long-See-You-TomorrowBombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow

We’ve got a lot of time for Bombay Bicycle Club, even though whenever we tweet about them we get a spam-bot promoting a chain of curry houses. For us, their defining moment came on their last album – Take The Right One propelled the London quartet from generic Radio1 standard to a band with serious ability. Whatever tonic they were taking then is still working a charm; So Long, See You Tomorrow is full of delectable indie-rock anthems (the non-annoying type), and choruses that can move mountains. You only need to look at the bookends to see their range: opener Overdone cascades over a string sample with fervent glee, while the closing title track is an affecting piece of chamber-pop that Money wouldn’t shirk. This is an album so enjoyable that we’ll even forgive them for misappropriating the hallowed song title Whenever, Wherever (though they more than make up for it by sampling the Bollywood classic Man Dole Mera Tan Dole on Feel. What a tune).