BMX Bandits

Theme Park

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After the relatively straightforward Gettin' Dirty, 1996's Theme Park moves right back into the all-over-the-place ethos of the earlier BMX Bandits records, with a slightly higher recording budget. Frustratingly, the album also features a return to the self-indulgent experimentation of albums like 1990's C-86 and More, with the smartly written and crisply played power pop of tunes like "Girl Next Door" and the Big Star homage "In the Afterglow" reduced somewhat by their proximity to half-baked goofs like "Teenage Slaughtertime" and "Evel Kneivel." On the other hand, the quality goods do outnumber the write-offs, with the absolutely giddy "I Wanna Fall in Love" and the twangy, cocktail-influenced "Before the Blue Moon" among the catchiest tunes the group has ever managed. Songs like that suggest that the BMX Bandits would have progressed into an entirely new direction, but they were caught in the fallout of Creation Records' collapse and the group broke up before they could release a follow-up.

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