Since combining forces in the Bikes, Rick Ambrose (Postface, Ex-Cretins) and Dan Hosker (Doersam, Holy Terrors) have been peddling their eclectic, violin-coated indie rock to South Florida audiences for quite a few years now. So it's high time the group churned out some recorded output. With its debut album, Get Stolen, the Bikes make the wait worthwhile. The disc reveals a maturity in songwriting achieved over 15 years of musical exploration without losing a sense of spontaneity or sounding contrived or rote.
The album opener, "Fly," abandons the traditional verse-chorus-verse structure (as do other tracks) in favor of an intricate, ascending interplay among, guitar, bass, mandolin, and Ambrose's abstract lyrical recollections. "Fly," like the album as a whole, allows the music to breathe and the lyrics to find purchase where they may; Ambrose feels no need to fill every bit of available space. "Booze Brothers" is a demented, countrified romp in which electric guitars mix with mandolin and bass lines while driving ahead, telling the tale of a particularly drunken night. The album closes with "Taj Mahal & the Toilet Bowl," a wistful, rather morose portrait of dysfunction, love, and misunderstanding. All in all, Get Stolen weaves together bits and pieces from old-school college rock, country, and improvisation with an indie/punk sensibility, allowing plenty of elbow room between words and music. And it's done with a sense of pacing a quality not often found in life, let alone a rock album.