Take In The Sun
By: Eric G.
Bike features Andrew Brough formerly of Straightjacket Fits as its vocalist and songwriter, and his pristine voice and chiming guitars make his band’s debut album a swirling pop tour de force. The guitars are jangly and fairly noisy in a Ride/Byrds sort of way, and the vocals are packed full of melodies and immediate hooks. Straightjacket Fits was one of New Zealand most successful exports, but Brough left his secondary role in the band after two albums to get his own stuff together. He relocated to Auckland and underwent many line-up changes, trying to attain a solid rhythm section for his wall of guitar sound.
Take In The Sun is an apt title for Brough’s bittersweet, symphonic pop that takes many cues from sixties, psychedelic pop as well as early nineties shoe-gazing. Most of this record was recorded three and four years ago, but it’s just now seeing an American release. Bike’s music doesn’t subject itself to any trends other than vintage bliss-pop, so it could have been recorded yesterday and it would hardly matter. This record has been heavily lauded overseas as one of the most essential guitar pop albums of the decade, which is understandable considering how infectious the songs are.
The title track is an instant classic with its fast paced guitar jangle reminiscent of Ride’s early Creation EP’s. “Circus Kids” shows Brough’s balladeering side, which showcases his unwavering voice. The music has a dark strain that fights Brough’s overwhelming pop tendencies, and it balances out perfectly. “Welcome To My World” has a strong Beatles influence with its downbeat harmonies and psychedelic guitar line. The guitars in “Old And Blue” get pretty aggressive like Oasis without the bullshit. Like The Wedding Present, Bike plays an old romantic foil to the current self-aggrandizing pop scene, and Take In The Sun is a striking debut.