What do you get when you throw every dazzling moment from the pop highlight reels of the last 35 years into a blender? Bikeride. Bikeride? Yeah, that’s what I thought. “Who are they?” Well, trust me on this one, you’re in for a treat. With a refined, assuredness in their songwriting skills, imagination up the wazoo, and fine instrumental chops, these guys have come roaring out of the gate with one of the best albums of the year, or virtually any year.
Kicking things off with the Style Council-ish, blue-eyed soul of “Erik and Angie,” Bikeride borrows a horn section riff from “My Ever Changing Moods” while careening through a set of hooks Paul Weller would likely sell his scooter for. Proving they’re fully versed in the international pop canon, they turn next to breezy Brazilian pop on “That’s Math!” before crossing the pond and morphing into the Wannadies for a slice of pure Swedish power pop. That brilliant combination of power chords, gritty vocals, and new wave synthesizers also drives the stellar “Blue Jeans.” Meanwhile, if you really thought the Housemartins were dead and gone, check out “Jennifer,” where frontman Tony Carbone sports a dead-on Paul Heaton vocal, along with some of the bounciest, “ba ba ba” harmonizing this side of the Olivia Tremor Control.
None of this is to imply that Bideride is merely derivative. Sure, they wear their influences on their sleeve (and proudly, I may add). But every song is of such consistently high quality and is so immediately satisfying that Thirty-Seven Secrets I Only Told America adds up to a major accomplishment in this era of often overly-serious and self-conscious alternarock. If it’s at all possible to actually wear out a CD the way you can wear out the grooves of old LPs, I’ll be in the market for a new copy of this disc in about…five minutes.
// Notes from the Road
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