The Bicycles

Oh No, It's Love

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It would be really hard for the Bicycles to top the immensely fun and frolicsome indie pop genius of their debut album, The Good the Bad and the Cuddly, and even worse if on their second album they tried to duplicate the sound and approach exactly. On Oh No, It's Love they expand on the innocent and rambunctious debut and add some heart and soul to the bubblegum thrills. The band still conjures up visions of the Archies, the Monkees, and every band in the Kasenetz-Katz stable, along with fellow Canadian pop worshipers the Golden Dogs and the New Pornographers, and they still write short snappy songs that impel you out of your chair and into a joyful twirl. Tracks like "Roland," "One Twist Too Much," and "Oh No, It's Love" are twee rockers that betray no new influences at all, and "Once Was Not Enough" and "What a Fool" are pretty ballads that would have fit right in on GB&C. Where the changes come in are on songs that have a country twang ("Can I Keep Calling You Baby?," "I'll Wait for You"), a grown-up and almost burly hard rock sound ("Leave That Woman Alone," "Green Light"), or a somewhat slicker sound than you might have expected ("Sweet Petite"). The overall feel of heartbreak and melancholy in the songs and their lyrics is new, too. Indeed, the record appears to detail the breakup of a relationship and its aftermath; it does this in a very honest and sincere manner that is far removed from any bubblegum record ever made. These changes are only bad if you wanted the Bicycles to stay the same forever and to make The Good the Bad and the Cuddly over and over. If you're willing to let them grow and can see that their innocent charm, skillful way with a melody, and overall grasp of what makes pop music will carry them through any tight spot, you'll want to follow them anywhere. Any band that can write a song as great as "Walk Away (From a Good Thing)" or "Won't She Be Surprised" deserves that kind if devotion. Oh No, It's Love may not be as breathtaking as their debut, but it firmly places the Bicycles at the top of the pop heap in 2009.

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