The tenth BMX Bandits album is here and that means summer is officially open for business.
“BMX Bandits Forever” celebrates the heyday of pop innocence, meaning that the 60s have to make room for the 50s as well as the 70s. All packaged in vintage Scottish indie pop perfection; soft maybe but with no added artificial flavours.
There are some interesting covers here: a fumbly version of Leonard Bernstein’s “Somewhere” that you will either love or hate; a slightly murky “That Lonely Feeling” allegedly by early 60s sister-duo The McKinleys although I have previously only heard a decidedly sprightly take by Dean Ford & The Gaylords; the Beach Boys’ “Forever” in order to justify the album title; and a song called “Mais Do Que Valsa” that you will swear comes directly from a High Llamas album. Well, it doesn’t and if you listen to Marcos Valle’s original from 1973 you will not only realise that it is a faithful homage but also where Sean O’Hagan got his unique sound.
But – importantly – this is not a covers album and the original compositions effortlessly hold their own ground. You just need to hear the fabulously bittersweet and instantly memorable intro song “My Girl Midge” to understand that what we have here is pure pop class.
The vocal interplay between main bandit Duglas T Stewart and new songstress Chloe Philip brilliantly appeals to your heart as well as your brain. And Stu Kidd (of Dr. Cosmo’s Tape Lab and The Wellgreen fame, not to mention Euros Childs and many others) adds a playful stability to the rhythm section, apart from also being main musical collaborator to Duglas on this project.
You can’t hide your love [to BMX Bandits] forever. You need this album this summer.