Sometimes the least conventional singers can make for the most engaging musical experience. Bike Thiefs’ lead man Marko Woloshyn does a great job matching the anger conveyed in his jagged post-grunge guitar riffs with his banshee yells and melancholic drone.
On Bloated, Bike Thiefs apply their Chevelle-like sound to a number of different styles, from the metallic grind of “Buffer” to the indie bounce of “Tiller’s Gate.” The interesting thing is that alone, these songs wouldn’t make a significant impression. There are no real hooks to speak of, and a casual listener might dismiss them as second-rate radio rock on a single listen. However, back to back they tell an entirely different story, one with more left turns than a Dan Brown novel. The album’s latter three tracks seem to be successful experiments. The anthemic “Basic Cable” is club remix ready, and the closer “Uncle Ray” is a ripping thrasher that would make Metallica proud.
The truly impressive thing about this record is not just Bike Thiefs’ ability to jump through genres, but also their ability to jump through MOODS. What stunts many other alt rock acts is the stagnant and often stubborn refusal to write anything other than angry or melancholy songs. Sure, it starts off sounding mad as hell, but by track five, the mood on Bloated is almost jovial, before the closing moments of “Uncle Ray” which are just plain mean.
No member of the band really stands out above the others. Though it is clear that Woloshyn is running the show, the way bassist Kris Pandeirada and drummer Erik Levak have worked their parts around his compositions is seamless. It bodes well when the only flaw you can find on a record is that it isn’t meant for the radio. Bike Thiefs have created true rock and roll with Bloated, and this reviewer is excited to see what they come up with in the future.
Written by Syd Ghan