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The Good, the Bad, and the Cuddly

The Bicycles

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Album Review

The Bicycles are a five-piece group from Toronto and The Good the Bad and the Cuddly is their brilliant debut album. Taking the best of pop (with a capital P) music from the last 40 years, like chamber/baroque pop horns and strings, bubblegum melodies, indie pop charm, Brill Building-worthy songcraft, the energy of garage rock, and new wave do-it-yourself attitude, the band's sound is a glorious testament to the beauty and wonder of pop music large or small. Using the classic pop lineup of guitars, vocal harmonies, various keys, and small doses of horns, the Bicycles and their friends from similar bands like the Hidden Cameras, the Golden Dogs, and the Meligrove Band have created something very cool here. The Good the Bad and the Cuddly is made up of hard-charging rockers ("B-B-Bicycles," "Please Don't Go"), ramshackle rockers ("Gotta Get Out," "Luck of Love"), rollicking Kinksy pop ("Paris Be Mine," "Sure Was Great"), good old breezy indie pop ("Homework," "Longjohns and Toques") and surprisingly poignant ballads ("I Will Appear for You," "Australia," "Ghost Town"), each song arranged simply and deftly, and sung with innocent fervor or heart-stopping sweetness as the occasion dictates. The only thing that slows down the record a bit is the cover of the Harry Nilsson-penned Monkees song "Cuddly Toy"; it somehow breaks the spell that has been cast over the previous ten songs. Maybe it's because it makes specific reference to the group's influences; maybe it's due to the band's original being so strong. Either way the album would have been better off omitting it. Still, we're talking magic here, a record that knocks the competition out with ease. For example, fans of the Apples in Stereo or the Elephant 6 scene and alumni who thought they had the market cornered on this kind of stuff will be floored by this little band that wears matching shorts emblazoned with the letter B. Maybe the only other band to recently work such a magical blend of influences, hooks, and inspired playing is Bikeride on their criminally ignored 2002 masterpiece Morning Macumba. Like that album, The Good the Bad and the Cuddly is a tiny moment of genius destined to be overlooked by all except for an very lucky few.

Customer Reviews

Get this album

It's taken forever for this album to get onto itunes and I've been spending my time waiting to give it a five out of five. Get it before they become extremely popular so you can say, "I liked them first"

B-B-Brilliant!!

I don't know what went on in 2006 much, but I can definetly remembering hearing the bicycles for the first time (live, just to brag a little). Nonetheless, GREAT album that always finds itself on repeat in my ipod and every song always fits whatever mood you are in. I suggest "Gotta Get Out" for those days that drag in the office...

Love at first lyric.

I've loved these guys since the first time I heard them. With their quirky performance outfits, the way the bundle up their CDs before sending them to a new home and their catchy tunes, there's nothing not to like! This is an album that you'll be listening to, over and over again.

Biography

Formed: 2000 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

There are seemingly hundreds of contemporary indie pop bands that claim the bubblegum music of the 1960s as a prime influence. Few, however, manage to accurately reflect that sound in their own music, usually through an inability to lose the protective layers of irony and hipster cool long enough to actually write a bouncy two-minute pop song with enough hooks and harmonies to appeal to a discriminating Monkees fan. Then there are the Bicycles. This Toronto quintet has the bubblegum sound nailed,...
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The Good, the Bad, and the Cuddly, The Bicycles
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