Bike Thiefs – Leaking

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews

Bike Thiefs

Leaking - Stomp Records

Jangly post-garage punk newcomers Bike Thiefs are an unexpected addition to the Stomp Records family, but not so unexpected that their emergence doesn’t fit a broader context.  One of the biggest and most exciting Canadian exports in the alternative scene today has been the off-kilter, dirty-pop stylings of PUP.  While clearly going for something a little more angular and abrasive, Bike Thiefs are undoubtedly cut from the same ambitious generational cloth.  

The band’s debut full length, Leaking, is an unapologetically experimental and curious manifesto.  “Hockey Dad” opens with the minimalist monologue of Marko Woloshyn’s rhythmic deadpan vocals, crawling through the song’s initial moments with the bizarre imagery of a fractured midlife identity.  “As far as I’m concerned, I’m John Rambo until noon,” proclaims Woloshyn, juxtaposing a fantasy of being “timeless in the 90s” against the less exotic reality of being “… a hockey dad [with] crushed dreams and coors light… now listless in a three-piece.”  Reverb shakes, guitars squeal and soundboards blip as the oddball soundscape screeches to life amidst lyrical disillusionment.  The fuzzed out, off-key vocals mesh with a jarring otherworldly tempo that feels like the offspring of illuminati hotties and The BCASA.  

As Leaking unfolds, Bike Thiefs tickle all sorts of sonic curiosities, seeking out a dynamic middle ground between melody and spontaneity.  “Flyover State” and “Limbo in the Kitchen” occupy one extreme, undulating with a sort of low key shoegaze inspiration.  The slow, low-flying bass grooves serve as a foggy mist through which spiking riffs and Woloshyn’s off key yelps penetrate during chorus and verse.  Tracks like “You’re Allowed Your Feelings” and “Comments Section” harness Bike Thiefs’ angular enthusiasm in the vein of mostly melodic bands like Retirement Party, thriving on an absence of symmetry but tying it all together through flashes of ear peaking imagery and pockets of scrappy ambition.  The only hangup newcomers might find themselves with is that Leaking definitely takes at least a full listen to become fully acculturated with.  Standout tracks tend to reveal themselves after repeat listens and in the context of the full album rather than on their own.

Leaking has a great pace, with the thirty-eight minute runtime feeling more like twenty despite the lengthy list of tracks spanning the four and five minute mark.  Bike Thiefs have made an oddly immersive album, initially unpredictable but with an emergent sense of continuity that serves as a telltale sign of great songwriting.  With an open mind, those looking for something a little left of centre will find lots to like here.