Mention Dark Flow and the words will mean different things to different people. To astrophysicists it’s a subject of conjecture and controversy. For music lovers, Dark Flow means something very different. Dark Flow is the highly anticipated fourth album from Bombay Monkey.

Dark Flow will be released on BBE Music on 19th May 2014, is the long awaited followup to 2008s 130 Astronauts. In the five years since the release of 130 Astronauts, much has happened to Bombay Monkey.

Back in 2008, Bombay Monkey were a duo consisting of Guy Martin and Andrew Organ. Since then, two has become three. Dave Tomkinsmith joined Bombay Monkey in 2012. He shares lead vocal duties with Andy. Depending up whose voice suits the song, one sings lead, the other adds backing vocals. This is very different to Bombay Monkey’s early days.

Guy and Andrew had known each other since the new millennia dawned. However, it wasn’t until 2003 that the two producers and songwriters began working together. This was when Bombay Monkey was born. In the early days, Bombay Monkey’s music consisted of cut-ups,  montages and samples. Accompanying Bombay Monkey on their tour was an impressive audio visual setup. A Bombay Monkey show, wasn’t just about the music. It was an “experience.” The next step for Bombay Monkey was releasing their debut album.

For many bands, back in 2006, they’d book time in a local recording studio. Not Bombay Monkey. They decided to builds their own custom built studio, Lo-Tek. It was situated on a farm in rural Kent. That was where their eclectic debut album Vanish! was written recorded. Vanish! was released on Lo-Tek Audio in 2006. Its sound was quite different to later albums. Five of the eight tracks were instrumentals. On its release, Vanish was well received by critics who were impressed by the inventive, genre-melting music. Bombay Monkey’s sophomore album was released not long after Vanish!

The followup to Vanish! was the space inspired Time Travellers. Released to critical acclaim in 2006, it has a cinematic sound. Everything from ambient, dub, electronica, hip hop, psychedelia  and trip hop melts into one. Time Travellers was a coming of age from Bombay Monkey. Two years later, came the followup to Time Travellers.

This was 2008s 130 Astronauts. It was described by Bombay Monkey “as part three in Bombay Monkey’s trilogy of four parts.” Bombay Monkey, as usual, were doing things their way. Again, seamlessly, Bombay Monkey fuse ambient, dub, electronica, hip hop, jazz, psychedelia  and trip hop. Trippy, dubby and dreamy to ethereal and eclectic it was a mind-blowing, lysergic adventure. Surpassing 130 Astronauts wasn’t going to be easy.

Five long years passed since Bombay Monkey last released an album. Now a trio, they return with Dark Flow. It features eleven genre-melting tracks from the new look Bombay Monkey. Founding members Guy and Andrew have been joined by Dave Tomkinsmith. He’ll share lead vocal duties with Andy in the new lineup of Bombay Monkey, which makes it debut on Dark Flow, which I’ll tell you about.

Mindpower opens Dark Flow. Dark, eerie and gothic describes the introduction. There’s also a sci-fi sound before the vocal sweeps in. It’s briefly reminiscent of a seventies rock album, before dreamily, drifting into the distance. By now, electronica meets melodic, synth pop sound. Drums crack, synths, buzz and harmonies reverberate as musical genres melt into one. This includes classic rock, dub, electronica, psychedelia and synth pop. Bombay Monkey combine to create dreamy, lysergic, synth pop with a sci-fi twist.

Understated describes the introduction My Delihla. A backing vocal is panned while swathes of thoughtful synths create a backdrop for the tender, wistful vocal. Soon, Bombay Monkey bring out the big guns. By this, I mean their trusty synths. They produce a big, bold backdrop that play an important part in the track’s anthemic sound. Especially when combined with the vocals, stabs of keyboards, crisp drums and sci-fi sounds. The result is a track that’s bound to become an anthem at festivals during the summer.

Monkey See Monkey Do has a drum and bass inspired introduction. This is joined by dark strings and an urgent vocal. Soon, hooks are being unleashed as squelchy synths, dark strings and the drum and bass-tinged backdrop. It’s an irresistible and hook-laden track, with a big, bold and urgent arrangement.

A haunting, eerie spoken-word vocal introduction opens It’s Not My Dog. It’s accompanied by dark bass synth and a Madness inspired vocal. The vocal is almost Suggs’ like. Delivered at breakneck speed, the jive-talking vocal sometimes become a rap. As for the arrangement, it’s best described as jaunty. It swaggers along, the rhythm section joined by keyboards, percussion, synths and backing vocals. Here, Bombay Monkey, combine electronica, hip hop and indie roc to create a truly irresistible, swaggering track.

Cat Got Your Tongue? is a ninety second hip hop and jazz inspired interlude. Bombay Monkey replicate the sound of worn vinyl. The vinyl “plays” jangling, vintage arrangement. It veers between jazz-tinged, dubby and hip hop, all in the space of ninety second. No wonder Bombay Monkey exit stage left to riotous applause.

King Of The Jungle sounds as if it would be perfect for the new Star Wars movie. Its sci-fi sound glides into being. It’s dark and dramatic. Especially when the sci-fi tinged vocal emerges. It’s moody and broody, the perfect foil for the lead vocal. As the deliberate lead vocal reverberates into the distance, drums pound and synths join forces with the eerie, sci-fi vocal. Soon, the rhythm section, searing guitars and banks of synths. They combine elements of classic rock, synth pop and prog rock, to create a dark, dramatic, cinematic track.

Just a stabs of a lone melodic keyboards open Heartrush. Soon, things change. Drums pound and swathes of synth combine with a tender, thoughtful vocal. Again, this track has a heavier, darker, sound. That extends to the lyrics. They’ve a strong narrative. Bombay Monkey paint pictures. Dark, dramatic scenes unfold before your eyes. There’s a sense of urgency in the arrangement, which references early eighties electronica. Especially during a synth hook. After that, the tempo quickens, reflecting the sense of urgency in the lyrics. Bombay Monkey continue to combine electronica, pop and synth pop to create a track that’s melodic, dramatic and full of subtle hooks.

Istanbul Dub has light, airy and joyous introduction. Just a scatted female vocal skips across the arrangement. Drums and percussion provide the backdrop as a male and female vocal dance their way across the arrangement. They’re replaced by swathes of rumbling synths, crisp drums and a joyful male vocal. Samples, synths,  and the scatted female vocal combine to create a compelling, multilayered arrangement. When the vocal returns, it continues to play an important role in what’s a delicious and joyous, dance-floor friendly track.

Straight away, Love’s An Illusion reminded me of Simple Minds. It’s the synths and vocal that leads to this comparison. The synths are slow, dark and meander along. As for the vocal, it melancholy and moody. Backing vocals reverberate above the arrangement. Meanwhile a probing bass and drums provide the backdrop, to this mid-eighties influenced track.

The Girl From The Future is a fusion of indie pop and synth pop. Just a dreamy vocal and melodic keyboards combine with sweeping synths. Harmonies sweep in as indie pop and synth pop combine. That’s before thundering dance beats cascade in. They provide the heartbeat, as poppy hooks combine to create big room anthem in waiting. Quite simply, this is a track ripe for a remix. After that, Bombay Monkey will be the toast of dance-floors.

Feed Your Fire closes Dark Flow. It has a broody, dark and dramatic sound. From the get-go, you’re spellbound, wondering where this track is heading. Big, bold and gothic synths sweeps over you. They’re joined by ethereal vocals. They provide a contrast as the arrangement glides along. Synth pop, electronica and indie pop combines to create a track that’s both beautiful and ethereal plus dark and dramatic.

Although five years have passed since the release of Bombay Monkey’s third album 130 Astronauts, the wait for Dark Flow has been worthwhile. The new lineup of  Bombay Monkey have returned with an eclectic musical adventure. Dark Flow sees Bombay Monkey move in different directions. This includes towards the dance-floor on Heartrush and The Girl From The Future. It’s Not My Dog sounds like a Madness inspired sing-along. Dance-floor friendly, it shows another side of Bombay Monkey. Delicious, joyous, quirky and dance-floor friendly describes the other dance track Istanbul Dub. Then there’s the anthemic My Delihla. However, there’s more to Dark Flow than just five tracks. 

Other tracks prove that Bombay Monkey haven’t turned their back on their music past. Mindpower which opens Dark Flow is a dreamy, lysergic, synth pop with a sci-fi twist. King Of The Jungle is  dark, dramatic, cinematic track. Cat Got Your Tongue veers between jazz-tinged, dubby and hip hop, in the space of ninety seconds. Love’s An Illusion is an eighties-influenced track that reminds me of Simple Minds. The Girl From The Future somehow, manages to be simultaneously  beautiful and ethereal plus dark and dramatic. That’s some feat. However, this is Bombay Monkey we’re talking about.

They’ve been around since 2003. This makes Bombay Monkey almost musical veterans. However, they added a new member in 2012, Dave Tomkinsmith. Dave and Andy share lead vocals on Dark Flow. When Dave sings lead vocal, Andy sings backing vocals. This works well. They’re like ying and yang on Dark Flow, which is an album of innovative, genre-melting music.

That’s what you get when combine ambient with classic rock, dub, electronica, indie rock, pop, prog rock, psychedelia and synth pop. The result is Dark Flow, an album that’s variously dark, dramatic and eerie to beautiful and ethereal, right through to anthemic, dance-floor friendly, hook laden, irresistible and joyous. Dark Flow also veers between cinematic and subtle, to melodic and melancholy. That to me, is the perfect description of Dark Flow, the fourth album from Bombay Monkey, which will be released on 19th May 2014, on BBE Music. That’s why Dark Flow is a career defining album Bombay Monkey, that’s sees them come age musically.





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