Album Review: The Bicycle Days ”“ Calamitunes
Bengaluru psychedelic band goes electro on debut full-length
[easyreview cat1title = Calamitunes cat1rating = 3.5]
Vocalist Karthik Basker of Bengaluru psychedelic/alternative band The Bicycle Days shouts, auto-tunes, whimpers and sings through their first release in three years, Calamitunes, providing voice to a soundscape that just about dodges all comparisons to Radiohead [except on the opening track “Vicious”]. Guitarist Ramanan Chandramouli stepped in just a few months ago, and he throws in layers of riffs and holds up the rock side of things, as does bassist Abhishek, who joined in 2011. The change in lineup also led to a reshuffling in band duties, with Basker handling samples along with guitarist Rahul Ranganath.
If you’re paying attention to the soundscapes on Calamitunes, you’ll find they now draw from edgier electronica artists like Flying Lotus and Boards of Canada for downtempo, chill-out numbers. From the jazzy “Conundrum” to the sub-basslined “Crawl (The Human Experience).” The darker psychedelic tone shows on the rehashed “Circles” [originally on their debut EP, 42]. The band fuses electronic drum and bass perfectly on songs like “Escape,” (featuring Basker turning on the auto-tune to some danceable beats) “Hush,” a cinematic music equivalent of a sundowner and the angry, near-prog rock closer, “Truce.”
The Bicycle Days probably have enough visuals to match their mind-expanding live set, which features more psych rock improvising, as was evident from their jam with Thermal and a Quarter last November. One listen and the album compels you to check out their next gig and this in effect, is what all new releases must do.
This review appeared in the July 2013 issue of ROLLING STONE India.