Born to Be a Motorcycle
From the opening bars of “Baba” straight through to the closing notes of “Lipstick Life,” I have a hard time envisioning Born to Be a Motorcycle in any other context than as a Muppet burlesque. It’s a caffeinated caricature of twee, pop, jazz and lo-fi kitchen-sink DIY; and it’s surprisingly well done.
The album reconciles conflicts of sound and does so with the smile of the Cheshire Cat. “Gotta Pee,” a ramshackle ode to nature’s call, has a shaky, haphazard melody on its verses and a blown-speaker earthquake on the breakdowns. The song is alternately cute and terrifying. “Funny Like the Moon” capitalizes on the band’s dialectic tendencies even better. The track’s smoky lounge verses, led by female singer Emily Joyce, go head-to-head with Rafter Roberts’s Ramones-inspired super fuzz idiocy on the chorus. The miniature free jazz horn solos that bridge the fervor and the calm are a ridiculously good choice. The band’s songwriting, on this song especially, is impeccable. It’s like math-rock without the angularity. Bunky even tries its hand at straightforward rock to positive effect on “Chuy,” rocking a riff pulled right out of Heart’s “Magic Man.”
Compared with its manic beginning, the disc’s edges are considerably smoothed out as it nears its end. “Cute Not Beautiful” is a thoroughly gentle and tender-hearted duet with a springtime lilt. “Glass of Water” lumbers along like a drunk polar bear or a cartoon theme song on Adult Swim, brandishing bicycle horns, Jew’s harp and other sound effects to send it well over the Playskool line.
Born to Be a Motorcycle truly embodies the classic Seinfeld-ian notion of “unbridled enthusiasm.” It’s audible on every track just how much fun Bunky is having throwing together nonsensical elements to create one big pop project. It’s an album for summer adventures, kids. The time is now.
Asthmatic Kitty: www.asthmatickitty.com