Ride Your Bike – Bad News from the Bar
This genre-spanning indie-pop based band is a must for those who love both stories and music.
Ride Your Bike, an indie-pop band out of Fort Collins, Colorado, hit a homer on its first try with its debut album Bad News from the Bar. The sound this band produces is fresh and invigorating. It is inspiring to those who wish to find new mediums to tell tales, as it pushes music in a new direction from the traditional indie-pop bands of recent years.
Ride Your Bike has been unfairly compared to other “indie bands” such as Say Anything and Dashboard Confessional. This band transcends dried-up attempts by the music world to make a deep and cynical statement about the state of existence. Ride Your Bike takes a page from the folk artists of old and uses its music to tell a story. Doing this easily pushes this band far above the rut other artists seem to fall in; trying to do too much with too little.
This album tells a story through music: two people (Elliot and Lillian) go through life experiences, overcoming pain and abuse to discover that love is the most important thing in this life. Each song tells another piece of the story with immense detail. At certain points during the album (i.e. “Dug in Deep,” “We All have Our Own Shoes”), the two characters stand out, singing together. The male and female vocal parts bring imagery to the soundscape of the story. In “Dug In Deep,” lead vocalist Mike Gretches plays the role of narrator while the two characters of the story seem to sing with each other during several spots in the song. With the lyrics being a great musical and literary achievement, Ride Your Bike did not forget about the musicianship of the music; each piece is a masterpiece. The vocals, both the lead of Mike Gretches and the backing vocals of the supporting cast, are quite broad in range and sound. With sweet group vocals and the harmonies that make indie-pop so familiar, Ride Your Bike beautifully accomplishes a lush spectrum of voices.
The instrumentals are just as vast in sound as the vocals. Each instrument from the acoustic guitar to the strings of the keyboard complements each other exceptionally well. Throughout the album there are hints of influences from popular bands of the past. The vocals of Gretches often resemble Paul Simon, while the usage of strings, horns, and stops give homage to the works of the Beatles (i.e. ”Knack For Faith,” “And Just Like That”). The practices of past bands combined with the unique new aged, indie characteristic of midi (i.e. claps and bells), is a sound that has never been heard in music on this level.
Ride Your Bike created a literary and musical masterpiece with Bad News from the Bar. This album is a must for all of those who enjoy a good tale, catchy choruses or just a great listening experience. This album, with its broad genres, is a unique and enjoyable experience. There is not one fan of any genre who would not appreciate this album in some way.
Stephen C. O’Riley