Bicycle Thief

You Come & Go Like a Pop Song [Artemis]

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With a new band in tow, the Bicycle Thief, Bob Forrest makes his return to music after an eight-year hiatus. For the uninitiated, the now ex-junkie/alcoholic, tortured-soul musician is best known for his tenure with the rock group Thelonious Monster. Several years off and a new band have not prevented Forrest from offering up his signature brooding fare on You Come & Go Like a Pop Song, a garage band-sounding collection that showcases the singer/songwriter's usual themes: regret, pain, confusion, self-defeat, consumerism, materialism, and the general ills of society. The album is successful in the sense that it starkly paints pictures of life's dark sides and how we all have the capacity to delve into very pained inner recesses. It also is a choice musical body of work with its garage sound, catchy guitar riffs, and earthy nature; audiences may find it reminiscent of early R.E.M. music. That said, here's where, for listeners, a crossroad might enter the picture. You will either love or hate You Come & Go Like a Pop Song. Here's why: There's something potentially irksome about listening to a near-40-year-old guy singing, "I keep making the same mistakes again and again and again" and "bumming another cigarette." For some, Forrest will come across like a pathetic, whiny, overgrown child. Others may tout him as a prophet for the misguided, misinformed, and troubled. And, be advised, this album is relentless with its self-defeating themes. Of the disc's 13 cuts, "Rainin' (4am)," "Stoned," "Off Street Parking," "LA Country (Hometown Blues)," and "Hurt" are especially whiny and black. In a nutshell, this album is an hour-long diatribe by Forrest on how life is hard, people cruel, and mistakes impossible to avoid and recover from. If you have no tolerance for adult misfits who continually bang their heads against the wall and appear to be overwhelmed by the world, you may want to avoid this album. If you can stand all the whining, Bob Forrest and the Bicycle Thief are masters of solid garage rock music and, to that end, this album is a score.

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