Free and legal MP3: The Bicycles (breezy yet substantial)

“Sun Don’t Want to End” is nearly as good as a truly breezy song can be (angst-ridden songs that merely sound breezy don’t count).

The Bicycles

“Sun Don’t Want to End” – The Bicycles

One of the more difficult songwriting challenges in the pop world is how to write a song that’s breezy on the one hand but substantive enough to be worth listening to on the other. Go too easy-breezy on us and the thing floats away from the ear, substance-free (and often insipid and annoying to boot). Another way to go of course is to write a song that sounds breezy but is actually full of angst. That can deliver the substance to be sure, but it’s sort of cheating, no?

“Sun Don’t Want to End” is nearly as good as a truly breezy song can be, and the main reason, my ears tell me, is its stellar opening riff—a snappy, tappy ringing guitar that sounds like what you might get if you major-scaled the Smiths. It’s an incisive little jig, at once familiar and unplaceable, and trusty enough to serve as both a stand-alone introduction and melodic counterpoint to the verse. I like it when bands can weave together two melodies like that, one vocal and one instrumental—it’s an old-school move only to the extent that analog, three-dimensional music skills are required for this kind of boppy integration. From there we are delivered into an extra-breezy (not to mention super-quick) chorus with just the right touch of ’70s-radio suspended chords before being hooked back into the central riff, which, in slightly fleshed-out form (0:53) sounds now like a long-lost friend. The second verse plays with the melody in a satisfying, offhand way—the “Just be good to me/And I’ll be good to you” part, at 1:08—but it turns out we were indeed supposed to notice that, since the song closes on an extended jam featuring those very lyrics. And sure, if you want to be a spoilsport, you could complain that the song goes on for probably a minute too long in that vein, but hey, it’s breezy and fun and good: no need to rush these guys out the door, is there?

“Sun Don’t Need to End” is from the album Stop Thinking So Much, the band’s third, which is coming in April on Fuzzy Logic Recordings (Toronto) (vinyl, digital) and Aporia Records (CD).

photo credit: Christa Treadwell

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