Bruiser and Bicycle are something else to say the least… The Albany quartet has just released an other-wordly EP, aptly titled You’re All Invited… Maybe it’s because it was released on Halloween, but they self-describe YAI as “spooky.” While they’re certainly right, they are just-as-certainly not a scary, one-trick-pony. Their particular brand of indie rock sounds delicate, almost as if it’s ready to fall apart at any turn… and yet it’s obvious how carefully crafted this EP is. It’s an eerie adventure through five songs, a journey that guides the listener through multiple twists and turns as they careen through the unpredictable course of this sprawling EP.
“Trading Paint for Kisses” is an explosion of an opener – immediately, the listener is hit with a wall of noise-rock, chock-full of roaring fuzz tones and near-atonal guitar screeching. The band meanders constantly; first, a bouncy riff that would please any 90’s emo enthusiast. They casually wander in and out of parts, utilizing various elements of emo, jazz, post-rock, and experimental music to create strangely-beautiful Frankenstein songs. “Kisses” (and the songs that follow) has an amorphous structure – it’s easy to get lost in parts that seem to morph in and out of each other (until the profoundness of the word “aquamarine” at 2:58 jars me out of my daze, inevitably setting me straight). “Trading Paint for Kisses” is a fun song to listen to and a fitting introduction to the band’s one-of-a-kind brand of eerie, jazzy post-rock.
“A Puzzle” is unreal. At times, the wry spirit of Stephen Malkmus finds its way into B&B’s vocals… when the band launches into a section of manic oh, oh-ing, it’s passionate and surprisingly appropriate for the music, if not only for its endearing awkwardness. Their equally mysterious-yet-calculated guitar work brings In-Rainbows-Radiohead to mind, with its dueling, syncopated guitar riffs. The in-the-pocket rhythm work and left field approach are reminiscent of a band like Pinback. This one is a must-listen.
“I Sense Something Bad Is Happening” is a slower tempo song, but don’t be fooled – it is simply another opportunity for Bruiser and Bicycle to showcase their impressive range. Here, you start to become cognizant of all the nuanced intricacies that B&B have jammed into their songs. Whether it be screechy, Casio organ tones, pitch-shifted vocals, or inexplicable background noise, these subtleties give YAI a true sense of personality. Yet again, “Something Bad” finds B&B locking into a deep groove in a beautiful outro, one of my personal favorite moments on this EP.
“Come Sit With Me (Oh)” is a Pavement-esque tune, boasting borderline bizarre lyrical content and light-hearted indie rock instrumentals. EP closer and title-track “You’re All Invited” finds the band leaving as they came, with a wall of powerful guitar noise and exiting with a chill ambiance. Despite all my flowery descriptions, to fully understand this EP, it must be experienced as a whole… A start-to-finish listen that will leave you begging for more, something new to be discovered upon each repeated listen.
You’re All Invited is available on Bandcamp for an extremely reasonable rate. Support local music and slam that “Buy Now” button.