BMX Bandits “BMX Bandits Forever”
One of the longest running power pop bands is the BMX Bandits, started in 1985 and led by singer/guitarist Duglas T. Stewart with a rotating line-up of musicians. Former members went on to form Teenage Fanclub and The Soup Dragons. After a long period of inactivity, the band reformed with vocalist Rachel Mackenzie in 2006 and made a few more albums before hibernating again.
Now Stewart’s back and concentrating on sweet love songs with Stuart Kidd (Linden), David Scott (The Pearlfishers) and Joe Kane (Dr. Cosmo’s Tape Lab) for BMX Bandits Forever. Opening with the earnest and easy listening “My Girl Midge” it’s an intimate style of indie pop. Recalling the simple melodies of late era Beach Boys, Stewart’s laid-back approach works on “Mais Do Que Valsa (Just A Memory)” and “Save Our Smiles.” It does get playful, with the polka kiddie tune “Way of The Wolf,” and hummable “It’s Time.” Another highlight is the dark gem “Razorblades and Honey” with Anton Newcombe (The Brian Jonestown Massacre) supplying an infectious bass line.
Some of this doesn’t work – from a painful cover of West Side Story’s “Somewhere” to the forgettable “Love Me ’Til My Heart Stops” and The Beach Boys cover “Forever.” However, some of the best new music about romance is part of this album, so check it out.
The Poster Boy “On the Count of Three”
Its been several years since we heard from Budapest power poppers Poster Boy. Sadly, the band broke up last May and they released this final album, which is more alternative pop oriented. The opener “Heartache” and “Pedestrian Street (Sucker Punch)” still features guitarist Noel R. Mayer and bassist Imre Poniklo, but the tone is much darker.
The solid “Karen” is a song about the late Karen Carpenter with a catchy chorus and steady beat “yearning for some divinity.” The band does make an attempt to lift the mood with the quick tempo desperation of “Smile” and the bouncy harmonies in “Birthday.” Worth checking out, but it’s a long way from the joyous innocence of their debut Melody.