The BicyclesView in iTunes
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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, but there is also a spiky D.I.Y. quality to their music that connects them to like-minded acts such as the Apples in Stereo or Of Montreal. Formed in 2000, the Bicycles consist of guitarists Matt Beckett and Drew Smith, multi-instrumentalist Andrew Scott, bassist Randy Lee, and drummer Dana Snell; all five sing, often in full-on sunshine pop harmonies. The Bicycles' first serious studio sessions, co-produced by Toronto pop scenester Dan Bryk in 2002, went unreleased for several years while the bandmembers developed both their studio polish and a multimedia live show akin to that of Sufjan Stevens, with matching band outfits, props, and skits between songs. The Bicycles signed to the local indie Fuzzy Logic Records in 2005 and used the unfinished 2002 sessions and some new recordings featuring guest appearances by John Southworth and members of the Meligrove Band (which Andrew Scott splits his time with), the Hidden Cameras, and the Golden Dogs. The Good the Bad and the Cuddly was released in the summer of 2006. Lee left the band before the recording of their second album, which was produced by José Miguel Contreras (of By Divine Right). Oh No, It's Love was released in 2008, and after touring behind it, the band went on hiatus in 2009. After a couple years of being apart, the band (Lee included) reunited in 2012 to play live shows and begin work on its third album. Stop Thinking So Much was released in the spring of 2013. ~ Stewart Mason