There are a range of emotions on the Bicycle Days’ first full-length album — from rage to despair to indecisiveness.
But you don’t really need me to tell you that. It’s in the song titles to begin with, from the spaced out half-jazz ‘Conundrum’ to the dark progressive-leaning, jumpy number ‘Indignation’. In fact, emotion trumps most other elements in music-making for The Bicycle Days on Calamitunes.
They kick off with the almost-metal ‘Vicious’, where guitarists Rahul Ranganathan and Ramanan Chandramouli duel with distorted tones as vocalist Karthik Basker goes on a wordplay trip, “I'm addicted to your ways. The ease and the vigour/My hand on your trigger/Beware of the lazi-mess.” While bassist Abhishek and drummer Shreyas Dipali are locked into instruments from start to end, and their contributions, though subtle on the more electro-leaning tracks such as ‘Hush’, ‘Escape’ and ‘Crawl (The Human Experience)’, indicate their varied influences from rock to metal to electronica.
Indeed, electronica is something of a new turn for the Bicycle Days. While they employed it heavily in the album-writing process, they seem to have gotten around to polishing it, and never going overboard. That’s why ‘Crawl’ and ‘Hush’ are two standout songs which perfectly showcase their downtempo influences. Basker goes through a torment to articulate himself the way he does on Calamitunes. They throw in ‘Circles’, a song from their first EP, 42, just to see if it gels in with their new material. You get a newer rendition that does successfully fit in with the rest of the album, but sometimes the extended improvisations do seem unnecessary.
Despite that, any kind of music that aims to alter minds has to do so not just through sounds but through words. Basker’s vocals and word-by-word delivery on the album closer ‘Truce’ deserves special mention for the perfect blend of mellow and heavy.
As mentioned before, the emotions are powerful on Calamitunes, whether it’s the surrender ‘Truce’ or the despondency on ‘Crawl’ and stronger medium are the lyrics. It looks like Bangalore rock has another wonderful representative in this psychedelic/electronic band.
Buy Calamitunes on oklisten.com/thebicycledays Rs. 150 (MP3)