Somewhere in between the indie rock revival of the early noughties, which gave birth to the likes of The Strokes and The Libertines, and the emergence of poptimism in the 2010s, the UK charts were dominated by a roll call of homogenous, mass-produced bands that were distinguishable mainly by their questionable choice of names (The Pigeon Detectives, anyone?). Together, these bands carved out their place in musical history with a genre that, with the benefit of hindsight, has come to be loved and hated in equal measure: landfill indie.
Amid the late noughties deluge of landfill bands, four teenagers from Crouch End were in the process of putting their own stamp on the indie revival. After releasing a series of well-received EPs under various aliases, they decided to pay tribute to one of their favourite eateries, a now defunct Indian restaurant chain in their homeland of north London, and Bombay Bicycle Club was born.
Released in 2009, just a year after finishing their A-levels, Bombay Bicycle Club’s debut album I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose captured the imagination of both critics and their newfound army of teenage fans, setting them apart from the landfill indie crowd from the outset. The youthful excitement that permeated through the album’s tracklist was matched by its striking cover art, a black and white photograph of a teenage boy suspended in mid-air while his group of friends gaze up at him, which managed to feel instantly nostalgic and timeless in equal measure.
Fittingly, the album’s art director was another fresh face to the industry, the recently graduated Joe Prytherch (better known now as Mason London). “At the time I was working in a web design company, designing instant win games for the National Lottery,” he says.