[25 August 2008]
There’s a certain subgenre of pop music—this particular sound that sits between light jazz and baroque pop—that seems to exist solely for the benefit of people who advertise elegant Scandinavian furniture. Either that or other luxury items like exquisite brandies, flat screen TVs, and spunky little (gray) Volkswagens. Now, before you all get too excited, let me just add that Phoenix, Arizona’s Try Me Bicycle is not one of this genre’s purveyors. At least they’re not trying to be. A masterfully talented trio that combines folk sensibilities with a minimalist touch, their music would provide the perfect soundtrack to next weekend’s cocktail party, but they deserve significantly more.
Members Andrew Naylor, Jay Novak, and Jacob Koller blend beautifully on this re-release of their 2006 debut. Across twelve tracks of spacious, jazz-minded folk pop, the ensemble evokes a host of artists ranging from David Sylvian to Nick Drake to Sony pusher José González. Koller’s eloquent piano serves as lynchpin on most of the highlights, which include lullaby “The Sodium Lights” and the pensive “My History Bore A Knife”. In short, Voicings is a solid down-tempo pop album that additionally offers the warmth and detail of a chamber ensemble.