Morning Macumba

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Bikeride is one of the best bands around, indie rock or otherwise. They have created a pop masterpiece with their third record, Morning Macumba. The songs are catchy and fun, the vocals incredible, the lyrics smart and funny, and the hooks large and shiny. The record is infused with the sunshine and joy of Brazil, which is not surprising considering that main Bikeride man Tony Carbone wrote most of the tracks while on a trip to Brazil. Other touchstones are the pop hooks of great American songsmiths like Burt Bacharach and Brian Wilson, the beautiful vocal harmonies of sunshine pop bands like Harper's Bizarre, the happy energy of loons like Wreckless Eric or Harry Nilsson, and a willingness to experiment like the great Welsh bands Super Furry Animals and Gorky's Zygotic Minci. Carbone and the Bikeride crew have a boatload of sonic imagination (the toy piano and flute of "Catch That Spark," the handclaps and xylophone on "Moonracing," the sawing cellos on the amazing "Sleepyhead," to name a few examples) that makes each song sound different from the next and each song a delight. Songs that should be blasting out of transistor radios and computer speakers all over the world include "Fakin Amnesia," with it's killer chorus and bounding energy; "Knees on Top," with lovely marimba and harmonies and lyrics that extol the wonder of Brazilian music; and "Whispering Winds," which sounds like the kind of bouncy early-'60s track Ritchie and Potsie's band should have been playing at Arnold's -- but better. Morning Macumba is the kind of record you will find yourself listening to over and over again. Its pure pop charms and energetic performance are sure to put a smile on your face. One of 2002's best.

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