Monday, March 17, 2008

Review: Ride Your Bike - Bad News from the Bar

Label: Deep Elm Records

Released: December 10, 2007

Ride Your Own Bike's debut, Bad News from the Bar, gets off on the right foot with "We All Have Our Own Shoes," whose strings slowly give way, but never completely, to a more traditional rock arrangement. After that, the creativity is pretty hit or miss though. For every clever or catchy moment, there's also some standard issue indie rock like "Sticks and Stones." Of course, some of the more original moments also struggle to work such as the horns on "Knack for Faith" (which are somewhat reminiscent of mid-70s McCartney). Likewise, some of the straightforward moments work simply on a good hook. At times their creativity shines, but just as often, it fizzles and their playing never really soars enough to compensate.

"Bad News from the Bar" is a concept album, but to its credit, it doesn't have to be taken as such. The narrative is there, but the songs, even the weakest among them, can all stand on their own, so nothing gets consumed by the concept. That extra dimension helps, but still doesn't push Bad News from the Bar over the top.

I first listened to this album while talking a walk in the snow and, to its credit, it made a real connection with me. It's the kind of record that has its time and place. The trouble is it doesn't snow that much here.

Satriani: 6/10
Zappa: 6/10
Dylan: 5/10
Aretha: 5/10
Overall: 6/10



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