Walking Bicycles is a Chicago quartet whose music could be described using some combination of “noise”, “psychedelic”, “doom”, “pop” and “post-punk”. You might say that they sound like the offspring from a bizarre one-night-stand between Jane’s Addiction and Warpaint. At least that’s what I think their new album sounds like. They’ve been around since 2004, and they released one album and an EP before they were forced to take a hiatus. In 2008, Julius Moriarty (guitar) was arrested for possessing “a large amount” of weed, and he was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in federal prison. He only had to serve three years of that sentence, but the band obviously had to take a break during that time. During those three years, he apparently wrote some magnificent letters to his wife and band mate Jocelyn Summers (vocals). The album that the band released this year is a reflection of those three years in prison, the relationship between the two, and the letters that they wrote. You can read all about that in this article from Noisey.
The name Walking Bicycles has shown up in various emails over the past few months, but I got one a few days ago specifically promoting two new videos, the album, and that article from Noisey. I downloaded the album and wasted no time listening to it. They also wasted no time in getting to the point. Right out of the gate, it’s really doomy and gritty and slightly metallic. The first song is called “Impending Doom”, and that’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s in the first couple of songs that Jocelyn Summers channels Perry Farrell. I never thought that I would write that I liked something because it reminded me of Jane’s Addiction. However, that’s exactly what’s going on with the first side of this album.
By the end of the album (and at less than 30 minutes, it’s a very short album, it’s a little lighter and brighter and certainly more upbeat. Today’s song, by the way, is the last song on the album.
This is that song:
Perhaps part of the reason that I say this reminds me of Warpaint is that there’s a song on To Him That Wills the Way that’s called “Warpaint”. Really though, there’s a rhythm guitar bit in this song that reminds me a bunch of Warpaint. Not any specific song, but just in a general sort of way.
I love how right smack in the middle of the song it gets all shoegazey and wall of sound-y. Even if just for a few seconds. That section of the song sort of floored me the first time I listened to it thoroughly. By “listened to it thoroughly”, I’m not just talking about giving the song my undivided attention. I’m talking about listening to the whole album from front to back, uninterrupted and undivided. Although this song stands alone just fine, I’ll suggest that you listen to the whole album that way. Uninterrupted and undivided. Also, you should play it really loud.
For extra credit, here’s the video: