Bike have made things easy in this introductory stage
of their relationship with the music consuming public by calling their debut record Bike.
But like all introductions to relationships of a lasting nature (as we're certain this one
will be) you'll be asking for a little background first.
Best to start with the guy who write the songs. That's Andrew Brough,
for five years a member of Straitjacket
Fits, only one of the greatest guitar pop bands of recent years.
Andrew's steady reverbed guitar strum held down the rhythm on the
Straitjackets' debut EP and first two albums, Hail and Melt,
to which he also contributed a string of timeless pop classics,
from "Sparkle That Shines" to "Take From The
Years", "Such A Daze" and the group's biggest single
in New Zealand and Australia, "Down In Splendour".
The pieces should fall into place pretty quickly then, when you put on Bike's new
recording. Opening salvo "Save My Life" just has to come from the pen that
brought forth the melodic heartache that was "Down In Splendour". Bike follow
that with a surprise by upping the guitar voltage on second cut, "Old &
Blue", where Andrew's voice is literally drowned in the swell of guitars courtesy of
York St producer, Malcolm Welsford. With a similar sense of menace, "Undone"
crashes on like Piha surf in its opening and the crunch of its electrostatic end.
"Don't Cry" winds up the four song EP, wrapping a vocal lament in a cosy blanket
of acoustic and electric guitars.
Throughout the four songs, Bike's three-piece line-up - Andrew on guitar and vocals,
Tristan Mason on bass and drummer Karl Buckley - work to add lean power to the often
brittle emotional skeleton of Andrew's pop songs. Through those chiming, rocket-powered
guitars and timeless melodies, Bike's debut then hints at the blend of delicacy and
grandeur of groups like the Byrds who have always been close to Andrew's heart.
Bike intend to begin recording their debut full-length album later
in the year. It has been some time since Andrew Brough split from
the Straitjacket Fits, but on the strength of this EP, he is back
in the saddle with Bike. A welcome return for pop connoisseurs everywhere
and a fine introduction to a band you will be happy to spend more
time with in the future.