There is that general misconception in the making of art that to be good it must take a long time and be poured over again and again, relentlessly worked on, sweated over, cried over, broken and abandoned in a fit of madness at night and meticulously and fervently put back together the next morning.
Not to say that making great art doesn’t take hard work: blood, sweat and tears as the saying goes. But let’s face it not everyone has that kind of time. This is especially true of bands who have the passion to make great music, but also likely have to spend quite a bit of time making money in some other facet in order to be able to have a roof over their head.
I can imagine that the Pittsburgh Rust Belt rockers Bikini Islands realized this and it is largely why they decided to stick to a pretty straight laced garage rock style for their self-titled debut record Bikini Islands. The ten songs here are up-tempo verse-chorus-verse jams full of jangly guitars and steady rock beats, and the vocals, delivered in a somewhat shoulder shrugging cool, often center around relationships that have gone south or other pseudo-seedy occurrences that always seem ripe for vocal documentation in the life of a first time lyricist.
Bikini Islands opens with the Strokes inspired happy and jumpy jangle pop number “Chasing Your Tail.” Though it doesn’t have the sleek glam and gleam behind it that made the Strokes seem like they reinvented rock at the turn of this last century, it gets the stage set for what the listener can expect to be highly entertained by for the next thirty-five minutes or so.
They pick up the pace and add a little bit of pop punk elimination to the mix on “How Long Must I Wait,” which picks up even more on the slightly more foreboding rocker “Sell My Soul.” They flesh this sound out even more as the record goes on, perhaps best on the auspicious “Riff Raff.”
With Bikini Islands, Bikini Islands proves they have the bouncy, pop and garage aesthetic figured out. Unlike their more famous predecessors however they haven’t quite learned that the secret sauce to success in this genre is having an undeniable hook both rhythmically and vocally. But more importantly especially in this day and age, is brevity.
If you’re a garage rock band writing a song that clocks in over three-and-a-half-minutes you’re going to have a hard time keeping people from flipping through their news feeds while you finish playing your set. Bikini Islands manage to keep to your attention and very rarely did I feel like they were extending themselves.
And if I could toss out a little fatherly advice; ditch the Strokes. The Strokes went to boarding schools. You’d be much better off listening to The Minutemen, The Replacements and some Hüsker Dü. You’re second record will thank you. Until then there is plenty to enjoy about Bikini Islands. Recommended.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook