Bump of Chicken

Present from You

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Present from You is a collection of B-sides, so the material is uneven by default, but it still does a very good job presenting Bump of Chicken's power pop/alternative rock sound. The first song, "Laugh Maker," would on its own suffice to make a good name for the band, as this is a great, uptempo rocker with waves of rollicking and echoing guitars, on par with Asian Kung-Fu Generation's best material. It's a strategic opener, lulling the listener into the depths of the album, which features songs not nearly so fully fleshed: beefing up singles with campy noodling is a normal practice, and one justly expects and receives the amount of slower, filler hymns on Present from You, as well as some half-hearted stabs at blues-driven alt-rock. But the band's studio albums are often filler-ridden anyway, and what matters is that Present from You still allows for their knack for writing just the right melody line to express honest emotion to shine through. There are real gems to be found on this record -- some sticking to the Pixies/post-grunge sound, such as the weirdly named, but moving "She, Star and Chair," and some being of the acoustic variety. Sometimes it's just a part of the song that works, such as the last part of "Blues of the Glass (28 Years Round)," but in most cases it's enough to leave a good impression. Present from You is still a long and exhausting ride, but in spite of its numerous ups and downs it still showcases the band's potential.

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