Bursting onto the scene with their unique sound, The Bicycle Days have emerged as a breath of fresh air in the Bangalore rock scene. When most Bangalore bands these days just tend to explore the different sub-genres of metal, these young chaps have the cajones to meld a variety of influences into their music. Taking inspiration from esoteric sources such as Radiohead and Bill Hicks(!), TBD have gained a considerable reputaion for themselves in a very short span of time. With Douglas Adams as their guide, they released an EP called 42 earlier this year. While it may not be the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything, 42 is certainly the answer to the dying rock scene in Bangalore.
It is not very common for a band to release an EP this early in their career but The Bicycle Days (or the acronym friendly TBD) have done so with aplomb. The hallmark of this record is the bands confidence in their ability to meld electronica samples with guitar driven rock. This is evident on the brilliantly written ‘Psychonaut‘ which shows off guitarist Rahul Ranganaths mastery of digital loops and samples.
The pick of the album definitely though is ‘27′. A spacey track that reaches a crescendo with singer Karthik Baskers vocals urging the listener to laugh, sing, dance and unlearn. It is now a fan favourite and a concert staple and one can see why.
The closing track ‘Zen’ (with Ajit Ranganathan on veena) has a catchy riff and is a fine way to close out the album. Well, almost. Play the track for a few seconds after the silence and lo and behold – a secret track! This track mostly consists of eerie loops and Karthiks Thom Yorke- influenced wails. Tip o’ the hat to the band for including a secret track!
It is a fine line between “insprired by” and “copying” and a criticism of this EP would be that TBD have tread on it. While sounding sufficiently original, you would be hard pressed to find a music fan who wouldn’t notice the very evident Radiohead influences on this album. That being said, TBD have created a unique space for themselves by incorporating the use of samples and vocal processors in their sound. It aint easy to translate this onto a live stage and TBD have proved their mettle with their gig at Kyra which has now gained a legendary status amongst music afficianodos. With some polish(the track ‘Circles’ is slightly derivative of the other tracks on the album) and a capable producer, this is a band that can go a long way. Till then turn on, tune in and space out.